THE SCAM: Travel like an agent
HOW IT WORKS: If you're planning a big vacation for this year or in 2008, watch out for a mail scam that entices you with the prospect of paying the same bargain rates as travel agents. Consumers report receiving offers through the mail for "travel cards" that supposedly are only available to travel agents, who use them for significant discounts. The cards aren't cheap -- by one report, the con artists charged $495 -- but any price is too much. According to the American Society of Travel Agents, the cards are worthless. The companies whose logos sometimes appear on the phony cards are not aware of any discounts.
WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money
HOW TO BEAT IT: There are plenty of discount travel opportunities through legitimate travel agencies, on the Internet and elsewhere. These phony cards should be discarded to avoid costly trips to nowhere.
Contact Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2331.
For past Scam Alerts, go to www.modbee.com/business/scam.