How To Stay Safe From Dodgy Websites On The Internet While Making Holiday Bookings

No doubt, holidays are one of the most magical times of the year. Be it a staycation or a trip abroad, people are always planning, and every time they decide they would take that most awaited trip, they always look up websites offering the best deals. It has never been this easy when it comes to making bookings for a trip  —just go online, browse around until you find a price that works for you, and book your flights, room, or even rent-a-car or two-wheeler. But, what the concern regarding online bookings is how do consumers know which portal to trust? And the concern is real.

There are cases when people witness money getting debited from their account, and they wait until the vacation starts. However, things get weird at the end as you realise that everything was a scam and the portal with the fantastic rates was a hoax.

In order to educate consumers about this rapidly growing scam, American global computer security software company McAfee and HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace, revealed the leading risks of booking holidays via dodgy websites online, in order to.

Here Are Some Of The Key Research Findings (Global):

  • 54% worry about their identity being stolen while booking and purchasing travel and accommodation online.
  • Over a quarter (27%) do not check the authenticity of a website before booking a holiday online – more than half (51%) say this is because it doesn’t even cross their minds to do so.
  • More than a quarter (30%) of holiday fraud victims have been scammed after spotting a great offer which turned out to be too good to be true.
  • Nearly half (46.3%) of holiday scam victims said they only realised they’d been ripped off when they turned up to their holiday rental to find the booking wasn’t actually valid
  • 44.5% of people are putting themselves at risk whilst on holiday by either not checking the security of their internet connection or willingly connecting to an unsecured network
  • On holiday, 61% never use a VPN and 22% don’t even know what a VPN is
  • When on holiday, nearly 40% of parents say turning to tech to keep kids occupied whilst on holiday enabled them to make time to relax

How To Deal With This Scam In The Travel And Tourism Industry

Check For Genuineness

There are several portals available on the internet that claim to be genuine travel companies. However, not every company is legit. And the Discounts and sales are some of the trump cards these fake portals play when they are on a scamming spree.

It is no surprise that people tend to get lured by heavy discounts, but these discounts pose huge risks. If you are going to spend some significantly huge amount on your vacation, make sure that you always check for the company’s genuineness. The internet would definitely help you get a clear picture. You can also verify if they have ever worked for other consumers and ask them their experience with the company. This is the first and foremost thing everyone should do before making a booking on a web portal.

Verify Before You Click

Phishing is one of the most common and most used cyber-attack. Even though many people are aware of phishing and they know how to detect them, there are still many people who don’t know and fall for discount emailer baits.

So, how to check whether the email is a bait?

  • Don’t fall for the display name, look for the domain. For example, if you are getting an email from MakeMyTrip the email should something be like XYZ <xyz@makemytrip.com>. While on the other hand hoax email look like this — XYZ <xyz@random.com>
  • Hover your mouse over the links embedded in the body of the email. When the link shows up, check if it looks legit. Also, if you want to open and check the link, do not click — rather, open a new incognito window and type in the main URL.
  • Look for spellings. Phishing emails and webpages tend to use wrong spellings to make the entire thing look legit. For example, you are on a Facebook phishing web page, the URL would look something like this: www.facebo0k.com (got the difference? It’s not ‘o’, it’s 0’).
  • Check the signature whether there is enough contact information.
  • Do not fall for an urgent and threatening subject line
  • Do not click any attachment, until and unless you verify completely

Use VPN

Forget about using, there are many people who don’t even know about VPN. A VPN is basically a tool that connects two computers securely and privately on the internet. It creates a secure, encrypted tunnel to transmit the data between the remote user and the company network. And the information transmitted between the two locations via the encrypted tunnel cannot be read by anyone else. A VPN adds one more layer of security and privacy.

If you are using public Wi-Fi and making any kind of transaction on any booking portals, then there are chances that someone might be keeping an eye on your activity. Who knows if that ‘someone’ has already pwned you.

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