Online scammers take advantage of the holiday season as it reaches its peak and travelers around the world search for the most suitable holiday destinations, cheapest accommodation and best flight tickets. Kaspersky researchers have noticed an increase in fraud attempts, spreading many phishing pages on the web under the guise of travel services, such as airline and hotel reservations. The researchers offer some common scam schemes that attract victims, and helpful tips for planning a safe vacation, to help travelers avoid falling victim to scams.
- Fake ticket sellers
Travel enthusiasts are often concerned about getting a good deal when looking to buy a plane or train ticket. There are many fake websites that claim to give users the opportunity to buy cheap flight tickets, and they are usually elaborate phishing pages that imitate the services of well-known airlines and well-known official airline ticketing websites, and some even show details of the real flights they get from websites Flights and hotel reservations. The administrators of these websites obviously steal their users’ money and use their personal information for malicious purposes, such as selling bank details and identifying information to other parties on the dark web. There are also many fake pages that try to lure travelers with fake airline tickets and gift cards, where users are given the opportunity to take part in a short survey where they enter their personal details in exchange for a huge discount on a purported airline ticket. Victims’ personal information and bank card details end up in the hands of fraudsters for free, as with all offers that sound too good to be true.
In addition, the survey usually ends with a request to spread the site among friends to receive the prize. In such cases, cybercriminals use the victims themselves as a tool to expand their fraud and make it look more credible, since the links to it come from people who know the users. And if the user then follows the link and tries to get his prize, he often finds that he has to pay an amount of money first, and as soon as he does, the criminals disappear and the hope of winning anything evaporates.
- fake rent
Common tactics to trick travelers include fake accommodation rental services that offer tempting offers, such as staying in a luxury two-bedroom apartment near the center of a European capital for just €500 a month, or renting an entire four-bedroom house with a pool and fireplace for only €1,000 per month. There are even reviews of the two places that describe their holidays as wonderful, encouraging travelers to pay to book accommodation, but their money ends up going to scammers. Mikhail Sitnik, a security expert at Kaspersky, pointed out the difficulty of planning a holiday and finding the most suitable prices for tickets and accommodation, stressing that fraudsters take advantage of this to lure users who are tired of finding suitable offers find. He said: “Travel has returned to normal after two years of restrictions imposed on the world by the pandemic, and the same applies to travel fraud that targets travelers with fake booking services for flights and accommodation. Such attempts can be completely avoided by the very question generous offers; you should stay away from a show if it seems too good to be true.”
Kaspersky experts recommend that travelers take the following measures to protect themselves while planning a vacation:
* Check the website link before entering any sensitive information such as login and password. If there is a typo in the URL that doesn’t look like the original supposed address, or there are some special symbols in the address instead of letters, you should leave the site. If still in doubt, the website certificate can be checked by clicking on the lock icon to the left of the URL.
* Avoid travel and accommodation bookings only through the official websites of trusted service providers. It is recommended that you enter the website address manually in the address bar.
* Avoid clicking on links from unknown sources (either email, messaging apps or social networks).
* Visit the official website of the travel or airline company to confirm that they make the allegedly generous offer in the email or on social media. With the need to carefully check the links to which the advertisement leads.
* Use a good security solution to protect against spam emails and phishing attacks.