3 TRAVEL SCAMS TO BE WARY OF DURING COVID-19
Travel feels like a distant dream since the onset of COVID-19. However, travel companies, airlines and hotel websites across the world are now coming up with hard to miss travel deals for Summer 2021. While this may be exciting, it’s also important be aware that coronavirus scams are on the rise. Have a look at these 3 COVID scams you need to be wary of while planning your holidays.
1) Free Holiday Scam
The ‘Free holiday’ scam has existed for years and fraudsters have now adapted these scams in line with the pandemic. You may see a pop-up message, an SMS or email claiming that you have won a free holiday and you can claim it by ‘paying a small fee’ or an additional fee to modify the booking. With airline companies and travel agencies giving out discounted packages during this time of the year, different variations of this free holiday scam are likely to be seen across online channels.
2) Fake Travel Reservation Websites
Another way you can fall victim to travel scams is via third party travel sites. Most people use third party websites in search of the best travel deals. Unfortunately, you may fall victim to booking on phony websites which may either look like a renowned hotel/airline website or might be providing a ‘Too Good to be True’ deal for the hotel/airline of your choice.
3) Fake COVID-19 Travel Insurance
Even though, there are loads of great offers available for hotels and flights in the new year, travel restrictions in the future are still unpredictable. Scammers are using this vulnerability to sell bogus travel insurance, which may offer ‘complete travel protection’ or ‘Cancel for any reason’ coverage.
How To Avoid A Travel Scam
- Do not click on any unsolicited links received via pop-ups, SMS, or emails with claims of a free holiday or ‘too good to be true’ deals.
- Always go to the official website of the travel agency, hotel or airline to check the legitimacy of the offer. Make sure the website has ‘HTTPS’ in the URL, which ensures that it is a secure connection.
- If you are still unsure, call the company directly using the phone number on their official website.
- If you are booking your travels from a third-party website, ensure that it is a reputable and renowned company.
- Try using a credit card for online booking. This would prevent the fraudsters from getting direct access to your bank account.
- Buy ‘Covid travel insurance’ only from reputable companies and always read the Terms and Conditions thoroughly. Always remember to read the fine print.
If you believe that you have lost money from using a fraudelent travel website, contact your financial institution immediately. It is extremely important to stay alert and cautious during these vulnerable times. Remember to always double check the source of the received message and be wary of ‘Too good to be true’ offers. Also, look out for these 5 Holiday Scams. To stay updated with the latest fraud information, check FraudSmart.ie.