The travel industry has rebounded, and so have scams. According to a CNBC report, consumers have been cheated out of $545 million through Covid-related fraud since the beginning of 2020 and the greatest amount of money was lost to vacation and travel fraud ($79 million). In addition, the Better Business Bureau has issued warnings about a rise in incidents involving scammers who often disguise themselves as airline ticket brokers and travel agents using telemarketing calls.
Plus, check out these alarming travel fraud statistics:
4.9 billion Amount of Estimated Automated, Unsolicited Telemarketing Calls Aimed at Travelers for 2021, 80% More Than 2020*
$283 – $588 Average Cash Value of a Fraudulent Travel Booking**
$2.4 – 4.8 billion Amount Each Major Airline Reports Losing Annually To Credit Card Fraud***
4.3X Day-of Hotel Reservations Are 4.3X More Likely To Be Fraud**
** Sift Science
With scammers in high-gear to rip-off consumers and the holiday travel season approaching, we wanted to share some helpful tips you can use to protect yourself from travel scams:
1. Do not open attachments or click on links in unsolicited travel/vacation emails. By clicking the links, you may allow hackers to download malware to your computer, smartphone, or tablet, or be redirected to a malicious website. That could lead to identity theft, or worse.
2. Don’t believe everything you see. Imitating official seals, fonts, and other details is a common trick used by scammers. Even if it looks official, a website or email does not necessarily represent an official organization. A fraudster creates fake “opportunistic websites” for airline ticket bookings or customer support numbers. So do your own research and search any travel company that sounds unfamiliar with the words “scam”, “fraud”, or “complaint” prior to making any bookings.
3. Don’t use unconventional payment methods. If a website or telemarketer is asking for payment via cryptocurrency, gift cards, or by wiring money, it’s most likely a scam.
4. Be wary if It sounds too good to be true. Scammers offering free vacation packages, too-good-to-be true airfare deals, and other deceptive “hot” deals hook travelers into making quick purchases. There’s a good chance these “smoking specials” are a scam. Tread carefully and do your research before you book.
5. Not receiving all the details. If the offer states you’ll stay at a “luxury” resort or you’ll go on a “high-end” excursion and the organizer can’t give you more specific details, it’s a scam.
6. Always pay with a credit card for extra protection. The vast majority of credit cards offer zero-liability policies, and federal law limits your liability for credit card fraud to $50 maximum.
7. Check out BrightDime’s library. We have many articles that are useful in protecting yourself further against scammers in our online library. Some of the content includes:
-7 Tips on Keeping Your Yourself and Your Money Secure
-Identity Theft – What Is It & How Can I Protect Myself?
-Passwords: The Do’s and Don’t To Help You Stay Safe Online
-Phishing: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself