Beware the scammers who create fake travel agencies, airline websites and social media pages that look genuine. Picture: Pexels
Beware the scammers who create fake travel agencies, airline websites and social media pages that look genuine. Picture: Pexels

Travel scams: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Aug 29, 2021

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As attractive as that travel deal may sound, travellers need to be wary of scams online, especially as they plan upcoming holidays.

Bevan Smith, the head of risk: Visa Sub-Saharan Africa, said travellers booking holidays should be wary of scam artists.

“Scammers are aware that consumers are hunting for the best travel deals. They are utilising every tool at their disposal to sink their hooks into unwitting customers looking for rock-bottom prices, whether it’s airfare, hotel bookings, tour packages or car rentals," he said.

Smith’s advice to travellers: "Do not get caught up in the excitement of having found your dream vacation package with an attractive price tag. A good rule of thumb to follow is: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is."

Smith explained how scammers might swindle wanderlust travellers.

“Scammers have devised many ways to swindle you out of your savings, from social engineering to phishing attacks. Social engineering is when scammers trick you into giving them personal or payment information.

“It can be in the form of calling you, pretending to be a travel agent offering you an enticing vacation package and asking you for your bank details over the phone to put down a deposit fee. Most vanish with your deposit, and you’re unable to contact them again. It can also be in the form of website contextual advertising, emails, texts and WhatsApp.”

Smith said scammers also created fake travel agencies, airline websites and social media pages that looked genuine.

“Scammers are relentless when it comes to finding new ways to get information out of you, because the more they know, the more sophisticated the traps they lay.

“Persistent scammers slowly but surely gather all the information they need to make fraudulent financial transactions in your name. Those scams are so convincing that even the most well-informed let their guard down. You need to be hyper-vigilant with your information.”

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