Planning a trip: Avoiding travel scams.
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One second it’s only an idea in your head. The next thing - you’re already searching for “vacation deals in Bahamas.”
Travel planning is exciting, and it mostly happens online.
When you think of travel-related dangers, it’s probably pickpocketing, your luggage being stolen, or any unseen circumstances on the road, right?
If you assume that none of the travel threats can strike while you’re still in the comfort of your own home – you’re wrong.
Scammers are working hard to ruin your vacation before it has even started.
Here are the common types of travel scams to be aware of.
Airline tickets giveaway
Who wouldn’t want to fly to an exotic destination for free?
Free airline ticket scams are prevalent on social media.
They look really tempting. Usually, the scams appear as a post announcing a free ticket giveaway. To claim your tickets, you are asked to click a special link and share it with friends.
But there are never free tickets.
By clicking the link, a victim grants the scammers access to their profile, their contact list, and may even permit to post on their timeline.
Luckily, such scams are quite easy to identify. Here are the key things to look out for:
1. Check for misspellings in the page name.Scammers do their best to mimic the official page, but they never end up perfect.
2. Verified social media pages are marked with a blue checkmark icon. If it’s missing – it’s a warning sign.
3. The airline company will never ask to access their contest through a third-party application and log in to your account. So if you see a suspicious third-party link, never click on it.
Fake booking sites
Spotted a dream deal online? Hold on for a sec. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Fake booking sites are made to mimic the legitimate ones, so it’s easy to fall into their trap if you’re not cautious.
You might be thinking you’re making a reservation with your chosen hotel or grabbing that fantastic vacation package.
But actually, by doing so, you might be letting fraudsters steal your money, credit card information, and personal details.
How can you avoid these scams?
1. Book directly through the official website of the hotel. Always look for the HTTPS in the URL bar. The S indicates a secure connection. Also, you can click the padlock icon to check who issued the security certificate. It should be a legitimately looking authority. Not something like “Lemon Cake Inc.”
2. If you decide to book through a third party, go for a well-known, reputable brand.
Do your homework – run a little research online to check the reputation of the website and to make sure the company is legitimate.
3. If you receive an email from the booking service asking to send your ID or payment information, don’t do it. Reputable companies never ask to provide sensitive information over email.
4. After you make the reservation, call the company for confirmation.If they don’t have any record of your reservation, it’s better to hear the bad news sooner. Call your bank to report a fraud.
Don’t let scammers steal your money and dreams of a relaxing vacation – remember these tips to plan a scam-free trip.