With the summer holiday starting, scammers are looking to target vacation goers. As attractive as some summertime deals might seem, how can you tell the difference between the real deal and a dangerous scam? Check out three common travel booking scams and how you can keep you and your family safe from them!
Scam 1 – Fake Travel Websites
Fake travel websites are made to look like real travel websites. They may also show up in your online searches or on your Facebook ads, making them seem even more authentic. Often, they have similar URLs, logos, and colours as the real ones.
For example, popular European budget airline Ryanair has the website URL of ryanair.com. Fake websites could use similar URL addresses such as ryanair.com-freechance.com as well as a copy of Ryanair’s logo to trick you into thinking you are on the real website.
If you search for Ryanair right now the first three results are ads and none of them are the actual website.
FixMeTip: Before you make any booking or input any sensitive or confidential information – check the URL twice!
Scam 2 – Fake Accommodation Listings
Fake or duplicate accommodation listings can be found on many popular websites and applications, such as Airbnb and bookings.com.
Hosts on Airbnb may list their properties on different websites at different price points, they then cancel the cheaper booking at the last minute. Check out a real case of this Airbnb last-minute cancellation scam and the man who successfully fought this practice here.
Other accommodation scams can involve fake listings, as one bookings.com user found out when they arrived at the address of their Los Angeles accommodation only to find out it’s an office building.
FixMeTip: To protect yourself from this type of scam, simply search the address of your desired accommodation in Google maps and check out street views around the property to ensure it’s a legitimate hotel. Also, read the reviews to make sure others have stayed here previously.
Scam 3 – Fake Facebook Pages that Steal Your Information
Your private information is a commodity these days thanks to social media websites like Facebook and Instagram. Scammers are also utilizing these platforms to collect your personal information.
One such scam involves a fake Facebook travel page that mimics a real Facebook page from a legitimate company. The scammer will then post fake promotions and deals for tickets or accommodations and only give you access to these deals when you sign up or fill in your personal information.
Once your personal information has been collected, the scammer will then sell this information to a third party. Depending on how much information you gave away, this could make you more vulnerable to identity theft and other attacks.
FixMeTip: to protect yourself from these type of scams, always be careful what personal information you are giving out. You can also create an email address specifically for receiving marketing emails from companies and businesses you frequent.
More Tips To Keep Yourself Safe
Making an online booking? The first detail to check before you give away your credit card information is the website’s URL link. All websites with secure payment practices should have the ‘HTTPS’ before their website address. This indicates the data sent between your browser and the website is secure. For an added layer of encryption check out NordVPN here. It encrypts all your internet data so no one can get their hands on your personal information.
For example, when purchasing a FixMeStick, you should be on https://app.fixmestick.com/store/.
Whenever possible, you should always make payments using your credit card. These payments are more easily reversible if you find out a payment or company is fraudulent later on.
Another tip to keep in mind is to look out for deals that are too good to be true. If you are not a frequent flyer and find a 50% off deal on an airplane ticket for the summertime, it’s probably a scam. Summer is peak traveling season after all, so expect general price increases in airplane tickets as well as other traveling expenses.
Before you commit to a booking, a good habit to get into is to research or look up reviews of travel agencies, companies, hotels, and even Airbnb hosts. All you have to do is type the hotel or company name into a search engine followed by the word ‘reviews’. If you don’t see any reviews, it could be a cause for concern.
And again, we recommend using a virtual private network, or VPN when you’re making online purchases to stay anonymous and keep your information private. Click here to read more about VPNs. To purchase NordVPN, our favourite VPN and the one we use here at FixMeStick, click here.