Travel is finally happening again! After years of being cooped up at home, everyone feels safer and more comfortable exploring the country again. For Pinoys, this means either going all out on planning a DIY trip or looking for a travel agency. But let’s be realistic. When travelling in a group, DIY doesn’t always end up smooth-sailing, and it can get stressful for the person in charge. (Those who haven’t been in that position before, kindly back off with your judgments. Thank you very much.)
The solution? Consider hiring a travel agency. We know you’re excited and have anticipated this travel restart for so long. But be warned — scammers are lurking, waiting to take your hard-earned money away. Don’t be a victim! Before you begin any transaction, make sure you speak with someone from accredited and legit travel agencies in the Philippines.
Galit ka rin ba sa magnanakaw? Here’s how to spot a fake travel agency
1. The deals are too good to be true
Who doesn’t love a bargain? Because of the demand, and with travel agencies still getting back on their feet, it’s understandable that prices for travel packages cost a little higher. So naturally, many will be frantic to save some buck, and thieves take advantage of that. Now that it only takes one click to make things happen, scammers can come up with outrageously cheap tour packages for everyone to see.
Keep in mind that you always get what you pay for. Think about those knock-off items that are supposed to save you some money only to leave you spending more because they’re faulty and of bad quality. But at least, these unwise purchases allow you to use them for some time. With scammers, they’ll run with your money and never look back.
Also read: 10 Signs You’re Talking to a Bank Scammer
2. They don’t have a business bank account
Agents from legit travel agencies in the Philippines will not give clients their personal bank information. More often than not, these agencies have their business bank account and that’s only where you should pay.
Whether it’s a significant amount or not, practise due diligence before paying for anything. Money doesn’t grow on trees — be mindful of where you spend it!
3. They seem to be in a rush to close the deal
Distraction and intimidation scams are possibly the oldest deceptive tricks out there. While legit travel agencies will follow up appropriately and calmly, crooks will pressure you into closing the deal without giving you enough time to think about it.
Some would even harass you with endless text messages and calls to convince you, while others will offer to throw in more inclusions to lure you. When you refuse, they will make you feel foolish for not availing of their limited-time-only promos. If you encounter this, you might want to turn the tables and blow their cover.
4. There’s no valuable information about them online
Now is the time to make use of your detective skills! (Maybe use the same amount of passion you have when searching the entire world wide web for details about your crush.) Anyone can set up a social media account and invent a good lie. You should know by now that not everything you see online is real.
Be smart, and do not let the scammers outwit you. You can go to the Philippine Travel Agencies Association website to check the list of legit travel agencies in the Philippines. Reviews matter! Check out what other clients have to say. If it only takes one click for them to initiate their crime, we also have the power to protect ourselves by relying on legitimate sources.
5. They lack the proper documents
Ask for their permits. Legit travel agencies in the Philippines should be able to present these without making up excuses.
After a travel agency scam in 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reminded the public that the DTI Business Name Registration doesn’t suffice. They recently released a statement emphasising that Business Name Registrations are not licenses to operate. Businesses like travel agencies should process and comply with the necessary permits from barangays and local government units (LGUs).
Fake permits are easy to produce. Trust your guts and contact related government agencies to know more when in doubt.
You waited almost two years and worked hard for this much-awaited trip. Please ask yourself: Are you really willing to take matters lightly? Choose your travel agency carefully. It’s about time to stand up to these thieves. Travel smart. Travel safe. Mag-ingat sa magnanakaw!