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Avoid scams during summer travel season with these tips

Scammers appear to be ramping up strategies to trick summer travelers out of money as they book trips online. Here are some ways to avoid being duped.
Summer travel involves possibly booking airfare, cars or accommodation
Posted at 2:35 PM, Jul 06, 2024

McAfee — a company that focuses on cybersecurity and protection from online crimes — says some of the top scams, when booking lodging and other elements of travel, happen frequently in some places more than others. The organization compiled a list of some of the most targeted cities that they say see a high level of booking scams online.

Topping the list of those cities includes Fort Myers Beach in Florida, Sandusky in Ohio, Pocono Manor in Pennsylvania, Waimea in the Hawaiian islands and the city of Chicago in Illinois, the company said.

Abhishek Karnik, McAfee's Director of Threat Research and Reponse told Scripps News a significant portion of those scams include phishing-related frauds, which he says are the most common type of scams the company has seen.

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Also rental scams and ticketing scams are included in top dupes played out against travelers and those looking for entertainment during travel seasons. Places where families visit appear to be frequent targets for ticketing scams.
Cedar Point amusement park, located in Sandusky, often sees ticketing scams perpetrated on families looking for deals to visit the park.

Karnik says to be aware of vouchers that ask you to visit a website and provide your credit card or bank card details. He says to always use a credit card with protections, and not your debit card — but to also be aware of fake websites that are part of phishing scams. These types of scams work to get your information so the scammer can steal your identity.

Rental scams target people by getting them to make a booking assuming the rental will be available — but, when you show up, it doesn't exist.

Impersonation scams have you book something like a private transportation method, or another service, but it's not what you expected or doesn't exist.

"You should have a certain level of skepticism," he says. "Try to always book through official channels."

"Do not go off the platform," he says. "If someone tries to call you" to ask you to make the booking off the platform, Karnik says to "stay away from that."