Taking a Vacation? Beware of Scammers and Non-Accredited Travel Businesses

It sure is nice to go out on holiday so that you can enjoy something nice and relieve yourself of the stress you accumulated from regular work.

But what if your hard-earned money goes to waste or, even worse, gets stolen by someone with criminal intentions?

Yesterday the Department of Tourism (DOT) here in the Philippines warned the public about making transactions with non-accredited entities engaged in travel and tours, airline ticketing and other travel businesses.

This was in response to reports they received about the proliferation of the non-accredited entities that posted advertisements on the different social media platforms or airline ticketing, travel and tours arrangement, hotel booking, and training offerings for travel business management.

“The public is hereby warned to be vigilant in dealing with these entities as there can be no guarantee on the reliability and legitimacy of their products and services,” the DOT said in its statement.

This development by the DOT is timely. Just days ago, there was this TV news report about a lady who got victimized by another lady who turned out to be a fake travel agent.

She paid a lot of money to the scammer for a Hong Kong vacation with her kids. As the scammer contacted her telling her to deposit thousands of pesos more for the vacation due to a “price increase”. The victim became suspicious and she went to the local authorities. Afterwards a personal meeting between the two happened in Las Pinas City and eventually the scammer got arrested.

You can watch the Tagalog language TV news video below.

Going back to the Department of Tourism, they said there are only select training centers that accredited to offer courses on putting up travel agencies and other tourism-related services. All travel agencies/ tour operators, including online bookings, are covered under the DOT Accreditation Law requiring accreditation before issuance of business permits, it stressed.

The DOT stated that entities with valid and existing accreditation with them have informative websites and/or online pages bearing the DOT’s Quality Seal and their corresponding Accreditation Number with validity.

For a complete list of DOT-accredited enterprises, the public are encouraged to visit the DOT’s website.

The lesson here is that you should not allow yourself to be fooled and tempted by those attractive holiday ads on social media as well as those transmitted via email or snail mail.

Always ask yourself if the seller is accredited by the DOT. Don’t forget to do a background check on the travel package and services seller.

Remember to be cautious and analyze the situation carefully before you proceed to book a vacation or avail any travel-related service. There are lots of scammers online and they are already making things hard not only for customers but also for the legitimate travel businesses.

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