Sounds too good an offer to be true? That is because it probably is.
From fraudulent flights to non-existing airline ticket and accommodation voucher, holiday fraud is a big business for scammers and is most frequent during peak holiday times, such as summer and December.
Often criminals will just be after your money. However, in many cases, scamming you is just part of a grander plan – criminals will use stolen credit card details to buy legitimate travel services, which they then offer to you at a lower price.
One of common online holiday scams is to the sale an airline ticket that not exist: for example, booking a flight with a peron who contact you over the internet and Sosial Media (like Facebook or WhatsApp) and receiving an imitation ticket, or paying for a ticket that never arrives. The same type of scams can happen with accommodation and package deals, too.
To avoid turning the delight of “what a good price!” into dismay, one of the simplest ways to protect yourself online is by always booking with a reputable travel agency website.
Be careful with individual persons!!!
Here are some common scams:
You are contacted by a person, travel agent or company you have never spoken to before offering you a holiday at a very low price.
Fraudsters use fake online adverts, bogus sales calls, emails, text messages and instant messaging offering incredibly cheap rates to tempt you into booking a holiday or purchasing a service. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Most scamers will selling fake tickets and online reservations. These scamers want direct payment by bank or Western Union, you will never get your money back if there is any problem. DON’T TRUST ANYBODY WHO WANT DIRECT PAYMENT.
Being directed away from trusted sites for payment
Some fraudsters lure consumers away from trusted booking platforms and request payment on a separate site – often tempting people with a better rate if they pay on another platform. Even louder alarm bells should ring if a host or travel company rep asks for payment via an online bank transfer or moneygram instead.
A fake Facebook page online travel scam
A fake Facebook page online travel scam happens when the scammer creates an official-looking page with the name of the travel provider. These pages often carry logos and branding, along with limited additional content. Through these pages, they will create promotions or offers for travelers, with the intention of getting them to sign up or share the link to their networks. In many cases, these “offers” run from a discounted airline ticket to a completely free ticket for signing up on their third-party app.
This online travel scam targets anyone who wants a free flight—from families to experienced frequent flyers. Travelers will click on this scam because it is shared by a friend they are connected to, leading them to believe that its a trustworthy deal.
But with no actual connection to the company, would-be travelers often end up giving away their information to third parties who only want to steal their identities. They will then use a target’s friend list to find more potential targets.
Watch out for an airline ticket credit scam
Scam artists purchase airline tickets with stolen credit cards, and then cancel the tickets and get a flight credit and confirmation number. They then advertise the credit on Facebook or online forums, saying they can’t take the flights and offer to transfer the funds for a discounted price. To buy the ticket credit, they’ll ask you to wire them the money. Because the tickets were originally bought with a stolen credit card, the airlines won’t let you redeem the credit.
Do a thorough online search to ensure the company is legitimate
- Pay special attention to the website name and domain. Small changes in the name or domain can direct you to a completely different company;
- Check that the website uses a secure payment system and the secure communication protocol (https) for the booking procedure;
- Search for reviews. People may have posted their experiences warning others;
- Check that the website offers full contact details. A phone number, postal address and any other information that would make it easy for you to contact them;
- Make sure they have your consent before sharing any of your data with a third party.