July 24, 2024

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Navigating Travel Wonders

Ways to avoid being scammed when planning your vacation

12News looked into ways that you can avoid being scammed when planning a vacation.

BEAUMONT, Texas — A Southeast Texas travel agent is out of jail following her arrest on Tuesday after she was charged with felony theft.

In May, multiple people came forward claiming that Emily Lockard-Furry, the owner of Traveluxe Official scammed them.

12News looked into ways that you can avoid being scammed when planning a vacation. We talked to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about what to look for when hiring a travel agent.

Hiring a trustworthy and transparent travel agent can help that from happening, according to Jay Sheppard the Dispute Resolution and Retention director of the Southeast Texas BBB.

“BBB first became aware of Traveluxe less than a year ago back in October 2023 when we received our first complaint,” Sheppard said.

In that complaint, a family claims Lockard-Furry promised them a dream European vacation, but instead took their money.

The family claims that Lockard-Furry said airfare and excursions were filling up quickly and requested $10,000 immediately.

“A really big red flag would be pressure to pay up front, especially if they don’t take credit cards,” said Sheppard.

Although you may be excited when booking a vacation, it’s important to not make hasty decisions and do your research.

“They should have a physical address, they should be easy to contact, very responsive and you want them to have a long history, a long trusted history,” Sheppard told 12News.

Travel agent Kayla Jacobs has been in business in Beaumont for five years. She says another good sign is if the agent is a member of a reputable association.

“I am actually a certified travel advisor through the travel institute and I am registered with CLIA which is the Cruise Line International Association and travel leaders network,” Jacobs said.

She says enthusiasm can quickly turn into disappointment if you don’t take time to ask questions.

“Anything that’s involved in the payment process. How it’s gonna happen, when it’s gonna happen. All of that should be very transparent to you from the very beginning and throughout all of it,” said Jacobs.

Most importantly, the BBB have tools to help you.

“We also want people to know about BBB Scam Tracker. You can learn about scams, you can get notifications about scams in your area,” said Sheppard.

Experts say a good old-fashioned way to vet a business is to look for reviews and ask for references.

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