With more people vaccinated and confident to travel, the travel industry is looking up. In the past months, airlines and other travel-related businesses encounter a large influx of customers. Unfortunately, it also means that travel scams are back. Travelers receive too-good-to-be-true travel packages and fake airfare deals regularly.
Better Business Bureau issued a warning about scammers posing as travel agents and ticket brokers. Some incidents involve scammers imitating booking platforms. Shortly after, customers are surprised that they’ve been scammed.
Travel Scams on the Rise
According to RoboKiller an app that blocks spam calls and texts, expect more travel-focused telemarketing calls this year. Unsolicited calls are expected to reach 4.9 billion in the US which translates to an 80% jump from last year.
According to Giulia Porter, who works as vice president of marketing for TelTech, the company that owns RoboKiller, scammers tend to go for susceptible individuals. Porter said that “Now, we’re seeing travel scams because everyone is getting vaccinated and they want to travel again”.
Scams typically use the name of well-known brands including Delta, Booking.com, and Marriot. Aside from calls, there are also spam texts that promise travelers of free cruise or some type of vacation deal. According to RoboKiller’s numbers, there will be 2.25 billion travel-related messages in 2021. That translates to a 300% jump from last year.
A New Way to Steal Your Information
Travel scams may look different from your typical scam that asks for your credit card info because of some alleged security breach. However, the goal is the same. According to Porter, “The end goal is the same: to get your personal and financial information so they can use that however they want”. The big difference is that old scams rely on fear whereas travel scams get you to sign up for some non-existent too-good-to-be-true offer.
Unfortunately, scams affect the travel industry. Scams steal from potential travelers who may then decide to delay their travel plans. According to Federal Trade Commission, the travel industry lost $26 million to travel scams from January to March 2021. The average cost of each scam is $1,100 per incident. However, the US is not the only country with a growing number of these scams. The UK and other European countries experience a rise in the same crimes.
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