Published: April 29, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
Getting out in the open road or taking to the endless skies, planning a vacation should be the start of something great. Forbes Advisor reports nearly nine in ten Americans have plans to travel over the next six months. But too often, happy travelers find things don’t always end up as they planned. From airline tickets to car rentals to Airbnb’s, hotels and more, scammers are taking advantage of our plans and plan-making. For many, the hustle-bustle of planning a trip can hit a dead end long before the fun starts.
Being your own travel agent is a great option for travelers. But thanks to scammers, DIY (Do It Yourself) travel plans can end up more costly than ever imagined. Looking at some of the most prominent travel scams and how to avoid them can help keep that long-awaited trip from starting in disaster.
Fake travel sites are abundant, so stick with those well-known and proven travel helpers. The BBB website provides a quick report card on any unfamiliar business, so don’t hesitate to use it. Also, be on the lookout for travel-related email phishing and spam.
Too good to be true offers need to pass the same phishing standards that apply to other emails – with a heavy dose of skepticism. That also means never follow links, including those in texts, and never open attachments unless the sender is a trusted contact – otherwise they could be hiding malware. Like other phishing emails, incredible travel offers can be a setup to steal your information.
Payment card skimmers are everywhere, so when you gas-up along your road trip, know the skimmer red flags. Before you insert your card, closely check the area around the payment point for anything unusual like an attachment or a piece that is loose or damaged. Skimmers aren’t unique to gas stations, so consider using payment cards that offer fraud protection for all stops along your trip.
Make sure to use legitimate websites for travel and pandemic guidelines for your trip. There’s no shortage of scam websites claiming to be official sources for information, including faked government websites. Check for the lock icon to the left side of the URL, showing the site is secure. Always make sure the URL starts with “HTTPS” and is not missing the “S” at the end. If it’s missing, the site isn’t secure. Any official government website URL ends with “.gov”.
Book lodging through trusted sites. When using a legitimate website, don’t allow the alleged property owner to take you to a third-party website to complete your reservation. Closely check the URL for all websites, even those most trusted, using the above tips. Many of the most trusted travel websites are ripe targets for scams, so always proceed with caution.
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