Traveling allows you to experience a lifestyle different than the everyday one. This could be your chance to see a show or concert, take a tour of scenic sights, or stay in a great resort in a prime location. However, without taking proper precautions, you might be booking a scam. Some websites may be promising the trip of a lifetime but target vulnerable users to swipe money and important personal information.
Here’s what to look out for:
- Counterfeit event tickets: Avoid community websites such as Craigslist when buying tickets. Scammers often promise excellent seats at great prices but require an up-front payment which could leave you ticket-less.
- Fake confirmation emails: For a legitimate site, you’ll receive a confirmation shortly after booking. If you receive a random email, perhaps a few days before the trip, asking to click a link to confirm the booking, call the hotel or airline directly.
- Pop-ups, promotional emails and texts: When browsing various websites on a public server, unsolicited pages may try to get your attention. While legitimate travel businesses do use marketing tools like pop-ups, specials and limited time offers to encourage booking, be aware that enticing links and pop-up pages that offer better deals and bargains may not be as good as they sound.
- Hacking unsecure networks: Don’t book or edit your trip through public Internet. Public Wi-Fi networks are often a gold mine for hackers and fraudsters. Connect with caution and try using a VPN instead of the airport, hotel or restaurant Wi-Fi.
- High-pressure tactics: There are many marketing strategies done by third-party websites to stress the traveler into booking. Beware of misleading messages such as “few rooms left,” “number of other people who have this item in their cart” and “sale ends tonight!”
- Undisclosed fees: Some organizations will charge reservation fees and tack on hidden costs, so look closely and review the receipt of the trip details.
Taking control of your data and being mindful of Internet security can help you avoid online scams. Booking direct also helps eliminate risk. Use third-party sites to research your options, but once you know where you’d like to make your reservation, use that company’s website to do so. You’ll often find packages and specials you won’t find on third-party sites and can communicate directly with the business to ensure that your trip exceeds your expectations! Learn more about how travelers are affected with our accompanying resource.