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4 major travel scams to avoid

Topic Travel Tips and Tricks

4 major travel scams to avoid - Image

Allocating money for travel can be a stressful process. As a result, you might be tempted to jump on any discounts or special offers you find. You need to exercise extreme caution when doing so, though, as some of the "deals" you find might be fraudulent. Travellers are among the most common targets of scam artists.

You can avoid running into these traps when you're next making your flight, hotel and travel insurance arrangements. It's simply a matter of knowing what to look for.

1. Airline scams
Airline-related transactions are a potential gold mine to cyberthieves. CIO reported that rewards programs offering points for flight purchases that eventually lead to discounts or free trips are frequent targets. In recent hacks on British Airways and Lufthansa, miles or points belonging to those enrolled in such initiatives were stolen and sold on the black market.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also cited fake contests - where people are driven to a social media page based on a free flight offer and then infected with malware - and bogus flight vouchers as some of the latest airline scams.

2. Fraudulent social media accounts
Nearly everyone is active on social media, so it's a common avenue for scam artists. U.S. News & World Report Travel reported that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts offering travel-related discounts and services may be fraudulent, so check that the pages are verified. If they aren't, you could be led to malware apps that compromise your personal information.

3. Street cons
Say you're walking down a crowded Paris street and suddenly someone taps you on the shoulder, saying you just dropped a ring or piece of jewelry. You're startled, so you say it's yours even though it might not be - and then you're asked for money as a reward. According to U.S. News, short cons like this are quite common in Europe but can really happen in any crowded tourist haven. Remain aware of all your belongings, and don't interact with people you don't know.

4. Wi-Fi hackers
If going online at your hotel, make sure you're using a network the facility provides. Don't go on any network you don't know that isn't password-protected - unsecured wireless networks are hunting grounds for hackers. Avoid using your mobile device's Wi-Fi while out and about as well.