Jason Cochran

Stuff you never knew you never knew

Jan

19

2013

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Today I promised the standing-room-only crowd at my New York Times Travel Show seminar that I would post links on my website. They’re out of context, but they’re here, plus a few major points from my talk this afternoon. The booking engine resources can be found at my colleague Reid Bramblett’s site, ReidsGuides.com.

Learning about the latest scams:

Facecrooks.com
Snopes.com
Christopher Elliott’s Elliott.org
consumerist.com/tag/scams/
The work of Mitch Lipka

Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information Blog: www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog

Cleaning up business access to your Facebook page:
Main page, left column, low down > App Center. On the next page, low left column > Your Apps. There, you can click “Settings” of each one to see what each one can harvest. Click little grey Xs for anything you don’t want to allow.

American Airlines’ warning on phishing emails and what to do: http://bit.ly/tTWMFF

USTOA (United States Tour Operators Association) Travelers Assistance seal. www.ustoa.com/ta

Drip pricing violators: www.dot.gov/tags/violations
Pending complaints: Regulations.gov Docket DOT-OST-2012-0002

Click here to read the story of how I caught Delta trying to charge me more when I signed in as a frequent flier.

You probably don’t need to buy rental car insurance. Many credit cards offer CDW insurance as part of standard benefits, and if you have car insurance at home, you probably have personal liability, too.

Your rental car company may try loading on fees for returning a car full, early, or driving it too little. These will only show up on the final receipt. Inspect it clearly.

Use several browsers and use a new one with each search
Clear cookies and cache between searches (use Options or Preferences to find the place to do that)
Try without signing in at all

Is that insurance company valid?
US Travel Insurance Association: www.ustia.org > Find a Member

Ultimate prescription:
— Always do “the check-around”, meaning never use the links you’re given. Verify on your own.
— DON’T USE THEIR LINKS. Find your own way to verify. Social media is far quicker than standard customer service.
— Check BBB.org
— Put as many hoops between you and the vendor as you can
— Use credit cards. Federal law requires refunds for services not delivered. No credit card? Visa TravelMoney has many of same protections
— Go through a known vendor or a site that accredits
— Hover over links to check where they go
— Block attachments for people not in your contact list
— Read the fine print
— Print everything
— Photograph plenty (including rental car when you pick it up)
— Keep a regular online backup. If you got malware, you may need it for a full software restore.
— NO MORE WIRE TRANSFERS, or PayPal, or debit unless the company is 100% reputable

If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out!

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