As the country starts to open up, many people are getting back out there by taking a fun vacation for the first time in over a year. While many in the tourism industry are encouraging travel, vacationers should be aware of the risks associated with traveling these days. The Better Business Bureau warns there has been a rise in reported cases of travel-related scams. Cybercriminals are always looking for easy targets to take advantage of, and if you’re not careful, you could easily fall victim. Here, we highlight some of the top travel scams and how to avoid the risk.
Top travel scams
Vacation rental scams
While a vacation rental is typically a great place to stay and can serve as a comfortable home away from home, many con artists are trying to scam unsuspecting travelers using vacation rentals. But be on the lookout for rentals that don’t actually exist. It’s pretty easy to create a fake listing on certain websites, so always talk with the owner and watch out for any red flags. A real vacation rental owner will be familiar with the area and able to give local recommendations. On the other hand, a scammer will give vague answers and create a sense of urgency, almost forcing you into booking.
Similarly, don’t always take the word “free” at face value when traveling. Hotels, rentals and cruises will often advertise a “free” trip. In reality, the taxes, fees, airfare and hidden add-ons often outweigh the free part. You may receive a phone call offering an all-expenses-paid vacation, and this is a phishing attempt to obtain your personal information. You should never give personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If the vacation offer seems too good to be true, unfortunately, it usually is.
Posting on social media about your getaway
Posting on social media is almost second nature to many of us these days. But posting about your travel plans and while you’re gone could open up your home to theft. Local criminals are always trolling social media, just looking for an opportunity for an easy burglary. It’s typically not too difficult for them to figure out where you live. This is what they do for a living, after all.
To combat this risk, always post after your vacation is over and you’re back home, highlighting the post as a recap of your travels.
Fake WiFi hubs
It’s pretty easy to access a WiFi network almost anywhere these days, making it an easy way for hackers to infiltrate your computer and personal data. Always be aware that some of those unlocked connections you can access for free might be dangerous. Unsuspecting victims will connect to unsecured WiFi hotspots that cybercriminals will set up in public locations. Once you’re logged in, these thieves will have easy access to your passwords, accounts and more.
Avoid this scam by never logging onto an unknown public internet network. Instead, always ask the hotel, rental, coffee shop or airport which network is the official one. You can also encrypt your online activity using a VPN.
How can you protect your employees from these top travel scams?
While many of these scams occur in an employee’s personal life, it’s important for them to understand the cybersecurity risks that are out there for them to protect your company’s data while at work. Security Awareness and Anti-Phishing Training help to educate employees about the ever-evolving ways hackers are performing social engineering to obtain data. With training from Global Learning Systems, you can rest assured your organization has the education they need to maintain their Human Firewall.
Contact us today to learn more.