Security Tips While Booking Vacations Online
Thanks to the Internet, booking travel online is simple. But as your ideas of a spring break or summer vacation take shape, remember to be cautious and follow security tips when making reservations online. The number of fake travel booking websites is growing because they’re so successful at scamming consumers.
Fake Travel Reservation Websites
According to estimates by the Indian Hotel & Lodging Association, approximately 15 million online hotel reservations are made on bogus third-party sites every year. These rogue websites trick people into thinking they’re reserving directly with their hotel of choice. Instead, the victims are making reservations on fake sites set up to steal their money, credit card information, and dreams of a relaxing overnight stay. With cyber criminals pocketing more than $1.3 billion in fake hotel reservations, consumers need to Follow security tips when booking hotel rooms and other travel reservations online — such as for airline flights and rental cars, too.
Security tips to Avoid Online Travel Reservation Scams
Go directly to the official website of the hotel, airline, or rental car agency to book your reservations. It should have “HTTPS” in the URL. If you’re not sure you’re on a real site, call the company to verify.
If you decide to use a third-party site, choose a well-known and reputable brand.
Pay with credit card to get extra protection
Using a credit card instead of a debit card when booking your trip helps protect your money in two ways:
- In case the website is fake, you won’t have given the cybercriminals direct access to your bank account. Many credit card companies offer fraud protection. If cyber criminals intercept your payment details, you won’t be giving them the key to all the cash sitting in your bank account.
- Many credit card companies have built-in extra fraud protection, so you may be able to claim back the losses from a rip-off. Worth giving your credit card company a call to check first, though.
After you make an online reservation, always call the company afterward to confirm. If there is no record of your reservation, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. You’ll be able to alert your credit card company, report the fraud, and still have time to book reservations with the real deal.
Switch on your VPN to protect your payments online
Before you click that ‘book’ button, make sure your VPN is on. This will ensure all the sensitive details you’re about to blast onto the internet are properly encrypted, disguised, and secured.
Don’t know about VPN yet? No worries, a VPN is simply an app you can install on your computer, smartphone and/or tablet. When you switch it on, it disguises everything you do online — in this case, your payment details, personal info, or vacation searches — under a thick blanket of encryption that makes it impossible to hack into