Are you looking for a vacation deal? This article should help you stay away from scams and plan an exquisite trip.
The health pandemic didn’t stop cybercriminals and scammers from coming up with the most ingenious ways to cheat people out of cash and steal their information. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Internet users reported losing over $75 million to vacation scams. And these are only the consumers who reported the scams; thousands more were too embarrassed to share the happening with others.
With the Internet accessible to almost everyone, booking flights and hotels is easier than ever. Planning an itinerary for a trip is as simple as running a Google search. People can plan entire vacations online. And they can also get scammed if they don’t know what sources to avoid and what websites to trust.
Everyone wants a great deal, but they don’t want to lose their money and personal data in getting it. Luckily a couple of actions can help them identify legitimate websites. Keep reading if you want to avoid scams when planning your next trip.
Be aware of online scams in general
Even if cybercriminals are getting better at their jobs, they still make grammatical and spelling mistakes. So, when you browse a website for the first time, look out for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or changes in the font of the page because they signal an untrustworthy website.
Scammers count on the fact that people are quick to grab offers that look too good to be true when it comes to car rentals, hotel accommodation, and cheap flights, so they often get away with mistakes. They often check the website’s reliability after they’ve been scammed and see the too obvious signs.
Being watchful when visiting a website can help you spot fraudsters and avoid getting your information or money stolen. Take this knowledge with you when you plan your next vacation online.
Book from reliable sources
Run a quick Google search, and you’ll discover that the number of travel-shopping directories is enormous. An in-depth analysis would show you that most of them aren’t what they promise, and you shouldn’t make reservations with them. Sadly, in some instances, these online resources can make you believe you’re booking directly through your hotel or airline, but you’re actually working with an intermediary that charges surprise fees. To avoid such an instance, look for the hotel or airline’s official website and contact them directly. You can even verify your reservations with the hotel or airline before leaving home to avoid any issues.
Check the website’s reviews
If you want to protect yourself from scammers, ensure the website you book your vacation on is legit. Use review websites to find more about the experience other Internet users had with the website. However, be careful where you search for reviews because not all review directories are what they advertise. It would be best if you read reviews from real users who booked their trips and had a great experience with the company.
A legitimate reviews directory would share both positive and negative feedback to help you make an impression of the kind of services the website offers. If you find only glowing praises and no complaints, dig deeper.
Identify the signs of a scam
Over the last few years, vacation and booking scams have been so rampant, travellers should always be alert when planning their next trip. Millions of scams are happening yearly, and sadly, the number is rising. Besides stealing money, some online booking websites can also steal sensitive information. The specialists from Data Breach Compensation Expert recommend claiming compensation if you become the victim of a data breach when booking a vacation online because the websites that ask for your credentials and financial information should guarantee your online safety.
However, it would help if you also watched for scammers and sketchy websites to protect your safety. Here are the signs you might be browsing a fraudulent page.
- An unofficial or blurry logo
- Too low prices
- The URL isn’t straightforward
- HTTP URL instead of HTTPS (the S shows that the link is secure)
Take your time to scan the website for the above signs to determine if you’re on a reliable website.
Get confirmation for your booking.
You can always find the airline or hotel’s phone number on their official website. So if you book your vacation through an intermediary online resource, you should also confirm it with the accommodation provider and airline.
Also, ask your friends for recommendations on legitimate booking services they used in the past because these directories combine all your needs into one place. Working with a reliable booking website offers several benefits:
- They offer full refunds if something goes wrong with the vacation
- They have a 24/ dedicated customer support
- The company verifies the cancellation policies for you
- You get a booking number immediately after confirming your trip
- They offer travel insurance recommendations
After you go through all the needed steps to book your vacation and the activities you want to engage in, check your email for confirmation. Legitimate companies have an automated process for this, so you should receive confirmation within a couple of hours. If you receive no follow-up email, get in touch with the agency. In the worst possible scenario, you caught the issue early, and you can cancel the transaction or call your bank to report the fraud.
Work with a travel agent
Online booking websites make it easier to compare offers and find the ideal one for you. So, you might think you don’t really need a travel agent because you can do everything on your own, with a little help from the Internet. But, it’s wiser to work with a professional because they have experience in the sector and can keep you away from scams. They’ll also advocate for your rights if something goes wrong during your trip. Seek referrals for travel agents and work with an experienced one who puts a lot of effort into ensuring you have the best travel experience.