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Watch out: Rental car scams surging

Rental Car Scams_FTC summer_safety_series_2

People are starting to travel again, and they’re finding problems getting rental cars.

With rental car availability at an all-time low, prices are very high. So, if you suddenly find an available car at a cheap price, you might be dealing with scammers looking make money on the rental car shortage.

Scammers are posing as rental car companies, setting up their own websites, and advertising fake customer service phone numbers, all to fool travelers. Then, they’re asking people to pre-pay for the rental – with a gift card or prepaid debit card.

To avoid rental car scammers, the Federal Trade Commission offers these tips:

  • Research the rental car company by searching for the name of the company and words such as “scam,” “complaint,” or “review” to check if other people have had a bad experience.
  • Verify deals with the company directly. If you need customer support, look for contact info on the company’s website. Don’t use a search engine result. Scammers can pay to place sponsored ads in search results, so they show up at the top or in the sponsored ad section.
  • Pay with a credit card, if possible, and never pay with a gift card or prepaid debit card. You can dispute credit card charges, but gift cards and prepaid debit cards are like cash and can disappear. After you give the number and PIN to a scammer, the money is gone.

Before you book that surprisingly available rental car, take time and read about things you should consider when renting a car. If you find a rental car scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Comments

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Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski

I hate that there are so many scammers in the world. Great tips.

Rita

Yes, I agree. You just need to be watching out all the time. This week I got a call from a man with an Indian accept. He didn't even say he was from Comcast. He said he was from my internet service provider. Yeah, right. I hung up right away.

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