5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Online Travel Booking Scams

5 Tips to Protect Yourself from Online Travel Booking Scams - Making Sense of Security - Making Sense of Security

How to Spot a Scam Before You Book Your Next Trip

Thanks to the Internet, booking travel online is simple. But as your ideas of a spring break or summer vacation take shape, remember to be cautious when making reservations online. 

It’s happened to all of us. You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see an unbelievable deal on a flight or hotel. So you book it, but then when you go to check in, you realize your reservation was canceled and your money is gone. 

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Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common with online travel scams. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to spot a scam before you book your next trip so you can stay safe and enjoy your vacation!

The number of phony travel booking websites is growing because they’re so successful at scamming consumers.

Booking your next vacation can be a lot of fun. But before you hit the “book now” button, it’s important to be aware of the many travel scams out there. 

By knowing what to look for, you can avoid being scammed and have a worry-free trip. So read on for tips on how to spot a scam before booking your next trip.

Learn what to do so you don’t take a quick trip to Fraudville instead of your dream destination.

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Fake Travel Reservation Websites

According to estimates by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, approximately 15 million online hotel reservations are made on bogus third-party sites every year. 

These rogue websites trick people into thinking they’re reserving directly with their hotel of choice. 

The hotel industry is warning consumers to be wary when booking online as cybercriminals are taking advantage of their customers. 

Instead, the victims are making reservations on phony sites set up to steal their money, and credit card information, and dream of a relaxing overnight stay. 

These third-party sites trick consumers into thinking they’re reserving directly with the hotels themselves – but instead being enrolled in fake site schemes where money and credit card information gets stolen along with dream vacations abroad or at home under false pretenses like “secure” room deals for one night only.

When you make a reservation through one of these phony site owners (and give them all your personal info), it can lead not only toward fraud but also missed opportunities for better rates elsewhere! 

It’s important to beware as well – especially if looking at other types of travel arrangements. 

With cybercriminals pocketing more than $1.3 billion in fake hotel reservations, consumers need to beware when booking hotel rooms and other travel reservations online — such as for airline flights and rental cars, too.

How to Avoid Online Travel Reservation Scams

  1. Go directly to the official website of the hotel, airline, or rental car agency to book your reservations. It should have “HTTPS” in the URL. If you’re not sure you’re on a real site, call the company to verify. Or try Norton Safe Web to find out if a website is safe, for free.
  2. If you decide to use a third-party site, choose a well-known and reputable brand.
  3. Get recommendations for trusted travel companies or sites from your network of friends and family. If you’re ever uncertain about if a company is legitimate, check with the Better Business Bureau.
  4. Use a credit card instead of a debit card to book online. In case the website is phony, you won’t have given the cybercriminals direct access to your bank account. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection.
  5. After you make an online reservation, always call the company afterward to confirm. If there is no record of your reservation, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. You’ll be able to alert your credit card company, report the fraud, and still have time to book reservations with the real deal.

Truth is, it’s common for people to see unbelievable deals on flights or hotels while scrolling through Facebook, but many of these deals are actually scams.

Many travel booking websites are fake and exist only to scam consumers out of their money. To avoid being scammed, it’s important to know what signs to look for before booking a trip.

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Conclusion

It’s important to be aware of the signs that a travel booking website may be fake before you hand over your hard-earned money. 

By being vigilant and knowing what to look for, you can avoid being scammed and ensure that you’re getting the best deal on your next vacation. Have you ever been scammed by a travel booking website? Be sure to follow us on social media! Let us know in the comments if you’ve been scammed.