Travel Scams On The Rise
With travel picking up, travel scamming is also on the rise. Here are some of the ways they are scamming people, and tips for helping you avoid those scams.
Hey everyone!! I hope you are having a great week! No real news here, just loving this warm weather and trying to enjoy as much of it as I can! :) There has been so much talk lately about hackers and scamming, and this has really been affecting the travel world as well. I dive into some of the major areas that people are getting scammed this summer with travel.
Rental cars seem to be the hot topic right now.. (Find my recent blog post here about why prices for rental cars are so crazy right now). With the high demand, and people looking for cheap deals, scammers are trying to bait people. They are offering lower than market deals and these scammers are trying to be sneaky and use phone numbers that are very similar to the ones of car rental companies and when you call, they ask you for personal information and payment details. They then have everything they need to scam you!
To be safe, always use websites that you trust. I linked some of my favorites in my last blog. And in the best case scenario, book directly through the car rental company itself. This is the most sure way that you can protect yourself from these scammers! Also, if you are planning to make a call to the car rental company, make sure you have verified the number on google.
Extremely Low Priced Deals
With travel picking up, there are a lot of places that truly are offering lower prices to get their companies back on track, but be aware of these scams that use wording like "free" or "rock-bottom". These companies are doing what they can to get you to bite on their low prices, and the activity or rental isn't actually real.
The best way to avoid getting scammed by these people trying to get you to buy their "great deal" is to use your best judgement and realize some deals just are not realistic. If it doesn't make sense the price is so cheap, it probably is a scam. If you see an "'all-inclusive" trip to Cancun (flight, hotel, transportation) for $300, it probably isn't real. You can also compare this package deal to other websites to see if it compares within a couple hundred dollars. If it is anything more than that discounted, it may be a scam.
TSA PreCheck and Global Entry
Again, with travel picking up, airports are getting extremely busy and TSA lines are getting VERY long. This is enticing people to look into TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. This is another way people are looking to scam people. They are making fake websites trying to look like TSA PreCheck and get your personal information and a payment from you.
I created a blog a while back on the TSA PreCheck process, and the best way to avoid this scam is to follow those steps and to go DIRECTLY through the TSA website (tsa.gov). This is the only place that you can sign up for TSA Precheck!
Airport and Hotel WIFI
This is a big one for scammers. People are working a lot more remotely and even taking vacations, while still working during the day (a form of digital nomad). Maybe your company has even talked to you about these issues, because companies fear these hackers are able to get the companies personal information! The hackers are also really able to get your personal information if you log on airport or hotel WIFI.
It is really important what you are doing on your computer when logged onto airport and hotel WIFI. I think the best thing you can do, if you have it, is to use your hotspot on your phone when you are at an airport or hotel and you are using the internet. On a recent trip, I used my hot spot to watch Netflix on my iPad at an airport, and I did not have any lag at all. Another thing you can do is to buy a personal, secured VPN that you use when you are in one of these situations. When I looked online, they really aren't that expensive! I might have to do a whole blog on this topic soon :)
Overall, it is really important to be extra careful when making your travel plans this year. Make sure you are using websites that are creditable and being aware of not sharing your information with anyone that may not be legitimate. As my mom taught me, always follow your gut, it is usually right! :)