A new year brings more opportunities to make vacation plans and travel.
Jan. 10 is National Shop for Travel Day, an event founded by the Travel Technology Association to celebrate technological innovations that have reshaped the way we plan, book and pay for our vacations.
The internet offers plenty of ways to help you plan the perfect trip, as well as book accommodation and flights while the post-holiday blues settle in, whether you’re considering a short citybreak, a tropical cruise or a trip to Disneyland.
However, the technological advancements that can create an effortless booking and travel experience also enable scammers to defraud travelers of tens of millions of dollars each year.
Here’s what you can do to avoid scams while planning your 2023 vacation itinerary:
- Be wary of ‘free vacation’ giveaways – A freebie vacation? I don’t think so. If you haven’t entered a contest or official giveaway to win a vacation somewhere, any email, text or phone call telling you that you’re going on an all-expense paid trip for which you only need to pay processing fees or a small tax, is a SCAM.
- Use caution when booking vacation homes and other accommodations–make sure that the deal or rental dwelling exists before committing any payments. Only use trustworthy platforms to search for accommodation, flights and tours.
- Steer clear of offers that sound too good to be true – Check for inconsistencies and grammar mistakes, and read the fine print before making any payments.
- Never pay in cryptocurrency, wire transfer or gift cards for your vacation packages, resorts or cruises – this is the first sign of a scam. Use a credit card or PayPal so you can dispute any fraudulent charges.
- Carefully read the cancellation and refund policies for your bookings. If the travel company or individual refuses to give you this information, walk away from the deal.
- Research any new travel companies, platforms or offers online. Look up any phone numbers or contact information and make sure that the property exists before booking.
- Ensure that your loyalty member accounts for flights and other travel platforms are secure with unique passwords and 2FA where possible.
- Use a security solution that blocks phishing and other malicious attempts while you search for the best travel deals. This will ensure that you don’t land on a phony website that will try to steal your information and money. A security solution will also block malicious links or attachments from compromising your device and data.