Consumers who are travelling or have not yet finalised their arrangements for the upcoming Easter holidays should be wary of fraudsters who target people who are desperate to secure travel and accommodation at the last minute.
When consumers become desperate to secure holiday travel and accommodation, they can easily overlook scams due to the pressure, only to find out that they’ve been defrauded when they get to the venue.
“Fraudsters exploit potential holidaymakers by falsely advertising holiday accommodation or timeshares on the internet and social media. Consumers are then deceived to pay upfront in order to secure their bookings. This further gives scammers an opportunity to request ID copies and bank details of their victims, which are then used for identity theft,” says Sahil Mungar, of FNB Digital Banking.
Always try and book accommodation three months in advance or longer to avoid disappointments. This will help you to qualify for discounts and gives you enough time to do the necessary background and security checks.
If you’re worried about a property or suspect that the photographs are fake, simply look it up yourself online. Look for reviews from other travelers and Google Maps to ensure that the place exists.
Use websites like tripadvisor.com, booking.com and similar websites to check reviews and to book accommodation securely. Generally these websites guarantee the booking.
Avoid depositing or transferring money to an individual’s bank account or sending your personal details to their private email address. Rather pay online on the accommodation’s actual website or in person at the venue.
Lookout for suspicious behavior. Take notice of bad grammar in emails, foreign phone numbers, or if the owner or property manager is not responding to emails. These can all be warning signs.
If you have friends and family that stay close to the place, ask them to go and verify if it is legitimate.