Have you ever used Google to search for a hotel, only to find that the site that came up wasn’t the actual hotel website but a third party site? Oftentimes, these sites are just online travel agencies that offer legitimate bookings for the properties that they feature. However, that isn’t always the case as actor James McAvoy found—almost—the hard way.
According to a report in People, McAvoy almost fell victim to a scam website while trying to book the Ritz-Carlton, Abama for a vacation in Tenerife, Spain. The actor turned to Instagram to share a video of his story and warn consumers not to fall victim to the same scam.
The actor also shared images of his communication with the “property,” which appear legitimate. The “property” provided detailed instructions for booking on their website as well as instructions for a wire transfer. While the bank transfer was unusual, it didn’t raise too many eyebrows. McAvoy says he has had similar requests for large sums of money before.
McAvoy made the Ritz-Carlton aware of the phony website, and the site, RitzAbamaTenerife.com, has been suspended as of the writing of this article.
Ultimately what made the actor change his mind was that the deal seemed to good to be true.
“I just thought the deal seemed too good to be true so I double-checked it with a travel agent and it was, of course, a tenth of the price that it should be,” he told People. “So I’m not going on that holiday!”
McAvoy’s advice: Seek an expert’s advice.
Travel scams are nothing new. Travelers who want to avoid them should ensure that they are booking directly. Admittedly, like in this case, that can sometimes be hard to determine via the Internet. If there is a question, visit the main site for a property such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, etc. and search for the specific property you are booking.
However, the best way to protect your hard-earned vacation dollars is to use a trusted travel agent who will ensure that all your travel transactions are legitimate bookings.
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