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MANY TENNESSEANS ARE TURNING THEIR ATTENTION TO VACATION PLANNING THIS SUMMER AND STATE OFFICIALS WARN ABOUT VACATION SCAMS. THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND INSURANCE'S DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS WANTS TO REMIND THE PUBLIC TO BE WARY OF FRAUD AND I-D THEFT SCAMS ASSOCIATED WITH VACATION EXPERIENCES. SCAMS OCCUR WHEN A STRANGER OFFERS YOU A FREE OR DISCOUNTED CRUISE, TRAVEL CLUB MEMBERSHIP, EXOTIC RESORT STAY OR RENTAL PROPERTY IN EXCHANGE FOR AN UPFRONT FEE OR DEPOSIT. THE SCAMMER THEN TAKES YOUR MONEY AND PERSONAL INFORMATION AND YOU NEVER RECEIVE THE FREE OR DISCOUNTED OFFER AND CRIMINALS HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR MONEY. TO AVOID VACATION SCAMS, EXPERTS URGE YOU TO RESEARCH BEFORE ACCEPTING FREE OR DISCOUNTED OFFERS. DO NOT OFFER PERSONAL INFORMATION OR PAYMENT TO STRANGERS, BUT ASK QUESTIONS AND REQUEST AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE TO VALIDATE THE OFFER. A LEGITIMATE SALESPERSON WILL ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND ALLOW YOU TIME TO CONSIDER THE OFFER. BEFORE PAYING A COMPANY FOR VACATION TRAVELS, CONTACT THE TENNESSEE DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS OR THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU TO ASK IF ANY COMPLAINTS HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST THE COMPANY. WHEN BOOKING A VACATION, AVOID ANYONE WHO ONLY ACCEPTS PAYMENT BY WIRE TRANSFER. ALWAYS USE A SECURE PAYMENT METHOD SUCH AS A CREDIT CARD OR LEGITIMATE ONLINE PAYMENT OPTION. IF YOU PURCHASED YOUR VACATION THRU A THIRD PARTY, CONFIRM YOUR RESERVATIONS, PRICES AND NUMBER OF ROOMS DIRECTLY WITH THE CRUISE LINE, RESORT, HOTEL OR AIRLINE. MONITOR YOUR CREDIT DURING AND AFTER VACATIONS FOR UNEXPECTED OR UNAUTHORIZED CHARGES.