If you are an inexperienced traveler or want some extra security for a family vacation, be aware of common traps that could end up costing you. 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. You’ll improve your chances of staying safe by watching for the following.
- 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. Learn more about how travelers are affected with our accompanying resource.