You’ve decided to take that long awaited break and book a holiday, and as you browse through the internet looking at destinations and places to stay, you’re already dreaming of blue skies, sandy beaches and making a list of the top tourist attractions… but beware, you just might have hit on a scam travel booking site.
There is no doubt that the internet has made booking flights and hotels easier than ever and many of us prefer to plan our own trip as opposed to using a trusted travel agent. However, as fast as these helpful sites appear, scams follow behind and it can be hard to know which sources to trust and which to avoid.
There are some signs that give away whether a site is legitimate or not and once you know these you can steer clear.
Signs of potential scams
Never click on links that you’re not expecting. These include fake emails, websites, texts, and social media posts.
Claims that your account has been suspended or breached.
Requests for you to reset your password or pay a fine.
No security certificate on their website – the little padlock icon at the beginning of the URL address.
Only non-secure payment options (Bitcoin, bank transfer, etc.) and no option to pay with debit/credit cards.
Odd letters/characters/symbols in place of other letters (like “ç” instead of “c”) in the website text.
How to Protect Yourself
Use trusted sites, and always check the website URL to make sure it hasn’t been altered.
Always pay by credit or debit card, it gives you extra protection as a consumer.
Use a password that is different to those used on other platforms and email accounts.
Don’t give a security pin to anyone and only submit the security pin through the website or app.
Check reviews. This is not a failsafe way to ensure a site is legitimate, as the reviews may be part of the scam especially if they are all positive!
Never give out your details
If you get an email saying that you’ve won a luxury holiday and that to collect your prize you need to give your bank account details to the caller for an administration fee. Don’t! It’s a scam.
Be wary of travel clubs, holiday clubs and time share websites offering holiday discounts or shares in fictitious villas.
The main thing is to be aware of these scams when planning your holiday and if you do your research correctly you should easily be able to spot fake sites and be able to confidently book the next holiday.