Online summer travel scams to watch out for
Iovation released a list of common online summer travel scams to watch out for. The company also announced that it has seen a hundred percent increase in online travel transactions made from mobile phones and tablets since 2013 with mobile now making up 24 percent of all web-based travel transactions.
iovation analyzed more than a hundred million online travel transactions for fraudulent behavior and found some common ways criminals are looking to defraud consumers making increasingly spontaneous purchases:
Airline ticket credit fraud – Crooks use stolen credit cards to purchase airline tickets online, then cancel them to receive a flight credit and confirmation number. The criminals then turn around and sell the flight credit confirmation number online at a steep discount. When the victim tries to redeem the credit, the transaction is denied because the initial tickets were bought with a stolen credit card.
Fake travel vouchers on social media – A fraudulent promotion for free airline tickets periodically emerges—often on Facebook—and spreads fast and far across social media. The link is a ruse that leads users to a site that looks like an official promotion. It prompts users to connect with their Facebook account and install an application. When users accept, the malicious application can harvest personal information. While many trustworthy applications leverage Facebook and encourage users to connect their accounts to interact, take the time to be sure an application is official before installing or connecting.
Wiring a security deposit for property that doesn’t exist – Con artists will lift a legitimate ad for a vacation rental from Craigslist or another website. They will attract attention by adding a bargain-basement rental price, include a fake email address, and then ask prospective renters to wire money or send a prepaid debit card for a security deposit. Never wire money. Paying with PayPal or a credit card can offer some extra security.
Urgent cash request – A new take has emerged on the old scam where people claim to have friends or family in common, are now stuck in a foreign country and urgently need money wired to them. Only this time, hackers get into your email account while you are vacationing and send a note—seemingly from you—to your contacts saying you need money wired as soon as possible. Because you are on vacation the scam often isn’t quickly identified, and the criminal has time to collect money from a fraudulent account, then delete all your emails and contacts so it’s hard to mitigate the crime.
“Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to carry out their schemes and it has become crystal clear that they are setting their sights on mobile users who some predict will account for a quarter of all online travel bookings this year,” said identity theft expert Robert Siciliano. “Businesses, especially during the busy summer travel months, must make certain they are able to adapt to the newest fraud schemes while ensuring they aren’t making their good customers go through extra hoops to transact with them.”