All thanks to the Internet, that booking hotels online have become damn simple. At first place, we used to rely on travel agents & on the basis of their glossy brochures and recommendations we use to plan our trips, however today Internet has ushered in a new way of travel planning independence.
According to the recent stats, people are spending over 5.2 Billion Dollars every year on fraudulent and misleading online booking transactions. In fact, almost one in four American travelers report of booking on wrong site which they thought was a legitimate hotel website.
Just because a webpage looks like a genuine one, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. So, before making further reservations, make sure you know who’s at the other end of that ‘Book Now’ button.
Most Common Online Travel Scams & How to Avoid Them
If you’re eager to ensure that your travel plans aren’t ruined by scammers, know all about the most common scams and consider the following tips to beat them.
1. Fraudulent Flight Confirmation Mails
Every time you book an airline ticket, typically in few days or prior to the date of flight you get the confirmation mail via personal email. But as travelling scams are prevailing these days, a new scam has hit the virtual world.
What it is: The fake confirmation mails might say that ‘Your booking is still not confirmed, click here to Confirm” and once the person clicks on the ‘confirm’ button, they might get redirected to bogus airline booking site which is posing to be the official one. It will further ask them to fill up personal details and confirm the itinerary and passenger name record.
How to avoid it: Once you click the OK button, there you have provided access to your airline ticket and personal details. To overcome such scenes, whenever you get these types of mails, don’t open it, instead contact the support of airline and do check the email address, you’ll surely be able to distinguish which address looks official and which is illegitimate.
2. Bogus Hotel Booking Sites
Travelers especially ages of 55 and up become the victim of fraudulent hotel booking scams.
What it is: When it comes to booking hotels online, people usually compare different hotel booking sites, to make sure they get the best travel deal. The moment the find the best price for their accommodation they grab the deal by clicking Book Now option.
How to avoid it: Primarily, a smart traveler should ask themselves a question that the site where they are booking online is reliable or not. A trustworthy travel agency will always have a ‘HTTPS’ in the URL. You can also get connected to BBB (Better Business Bureau) to rectify which website is legitimate and which not.
Still not sure you’re on a real site or not, call the agency to verify.
Also Read : Why Do Cyber Criminals Want To Hack Your Phone?
3. Visa Application Scam
Since, getting a visa takes a huge amount of time, government has introduced an alternative known as Electronic-Visa which allows travelers to apply for entry in other country via online. But today, it’s probably the most common way for scammers to attack people.
What it is: Online villains take advantage of traveler’s patience to get the visa and offers a help on getting it as early as possible with a payment of certain amount.
How to avoid it: From the moment a traveler accepts the offer, the attacker asks for their personal information & other personal documents. To avoid such scenarios, one must remember that only Government of a certain country can provide the visa & no other agency or person can help you in the same situation.
4. Fake Social Media Accounts
Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, that has given cyber crooks another avenue to target consumers and spread scams quickly.
What it is: Fake Facebook pages are much prevalent these days, these sites work to prompt travel offer on your account and once you install their app, inadvertently you supply your personal information to hackers.
How to avoid it: If anytime you get exposed to any bogus Facebook or Instagram page, you should first and foremost report it for removal. You should not run for free travel offers as at last, you can end up giving away your personal information to third parties who only want to steal your identities.
Bonus Tips: To Avoid Being A Victim Of Online Scams
Somewhere, all these scammers are just running behind your personal information, so make sure to take certain precautions & not fall to become a victim of online travel scams.
- Verify all hotels, flights etc. that you book through a third-party website or app. Don’t hesitate to call and make sure your reservations are correct.
- Ask hotels or agencies to notify you if any changes are made. A trustworthy company will always send a mail and SMS to update users if anything comes up.
- Use credit card instead of debit card to book online. In case you get involved with any bogus hotel booking site, you won’t be giving direct access to your bank account.
- If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Look out for red flags.
- Check with BBB (Better Business Bureau), they will surely help you by checking the legitimacy of the company.
Don’t forget to share these tips with your friends, family and colleagues who regularly makes reservations online.
Beware of online scams!