RSI Uncovers Travel Scams
RSI Vacations, a leading provider of private-branded vacation club packages and travel benefit programs, has uncovered a number of travel scams that have the potential to ensnare unsuspecting leisure travelers. As part of its mission to provide hospitality firms with access to proprietary Web-based travel programs, RSI Vacations offers periodic travel advisories at no cost to its private clients.
The company's dedicated travel-security team has noticed a rise in the incidence of theft at international ATMs. The practice is especially common at third-party ATMs in countries with loosely regulated financial systems. The scam is simple: Enterprising thieves hook up card-scanning devices or small visual-spectrum cameras to ATMs outside busy bars, restaurants and shopping outlets. These devices are equipped to read card numbers or scan the cards themselves and transmit the information to remote locations. Once this information is in the public domain, unsuspecting travelers can lose thousands of dollars to fraudulent charges or transfers. To avoid this common scam, RSI Vacations advises travelers to use branded ATMs inside reputable banks or credit unions.
Timeshare-sale scams are even trickier to spot. Many fly-by-night outfits that claim to have close connections with resort developers or long lines of willing buyers are able to convince timeshare owners to part with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in upfront "sale management" fees. Although these organizations tout their credentials as timeshare sellers, they rarely make good on their promises. Instead, they sit on these upfront fees and may even be bold enough to demand additional payments to expedite the sales process.
RSI Vacations has also uncovered a disturbing practice known as "card milling." Used mainly by small, dodgy travel agents or travel benefit firms without proven track records of success, "card milling" entices unsuspecting travelers with the prospect of "travel agent" discounts on flights, hotels, car rentals and package deals. Card millers often provide their victims with cards that purport to confer these too-good-to-be-true benefits. Even if the touted benefits turn out to be real, they often come with hefty redemption fees that can exceed the full-price cost of an equivalent vacation package. RSI Vacations advises travelers to avoid such scams by dealing only with reputable, name-brand travel and leisure firms that offer real deals and discounts.
For more information about all of the advisory services, vacation club packages and discounts that RSI Vacation provides, contact us.