Consumer Alert: Want to take a trip? Scammers want your money. Here’s what to look for.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For your consumer alert it’s “spring break or bust!” That was the headline this weekend in USA Today. For the last four days, more than 1 million virus-weary vacationers passed through America’s airports. But here’s the deal. The scammers know you’re ready to take flight, and they’re ready for you. I’m here to make sure you’re ready for them.
A record number of Americans took flight on Sunday (1.34 million), and even more hit airports on Friday (1.36 million). These are the highest numbers we’ve seen since the pandemic’s descent a year ago.
That means more of you have been applying for one of these, TSA PreCheck and Global Entry.
TSA PreCheck allows low-risk flyers to skip the lines. Instead, you go through designated checkpoints where you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, jacket, laptop or liquids. It’s literally an airport fast pass. Global Entry is your fast pass for international travel.
The Better Business Bureau warns scammers are creating sites that either "impersonate the government department or offer to do all the paperwork for you."
Instead, thieves may steal your money and personal information but never file the paperwork.
Here’s how you know you’re on the legitimate government website: The URL starts with https://, ends with .gov and there’s a lock icon indicating the page is secure.
The application fee is $85 for TSA PreCheck and $100 for Global Entry. And if you get Global Entry, TSA PreCheck is included. So if you do any international travel, it’s worth the extra $15.
But I’m always trying to save you money. And I found a fantastic article written by The Points Guy, a Dallas-based travel expert I’ve interviewed many times. He reminds us that many credit cards offer a credit for that hundred-dollar fee every few years. Here’s his list:
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card (every 4 years)
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business (every 4 years)
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (every 4 years)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (every 4 years)
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (every 5 years)
- Citi Prestige® Card (every 5 years)
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card (every 4 years)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (every 4.5 years) ($450 annual fee. See rates & fees.)
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (every 4.5 years) ($550 annual fee. See Rates & Fees)
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (every 4.5 years)
- Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card from Navy Federal Credit Union (every 4 years)
- PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express Card (every 5 years)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card (every 4 years)
- United Explorer Card (every 4 years)
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card (every 4 years)