How To Spot Fake Travel Websites And Vacation Scams

Eager for a summer getaway? Simply typing “dream-destinations” into a search engine produces hundreds of results. Many of these are real deals, but unfortunately, an equivalent number of scams exist out there as well. We want to make sure you get your stress-free vacation this summer, so keep reading for tips on how to avoid a travel vacation scam!

Here are some popular traps to watch for when booking a vacation:

  • Airline tickets – reports show that customers will purchase an airline ticket that never gets confirmed or shows up as a fake. Watch out for this!
  • Vacation accommodations – not only will scammers create very legitimate-looking fake websites, but they will also hack reliable sites to trigger fake advertisements to scam you.
  • Sports and religious trips – these scams will bait you with the “limited number of spaces available” bribe.
  • Timeshares and clubs – from fake buyers to all-inclusive memberships, people can be scammed out of thousands of dollars.

Take these precautions to avoid a scam:

  • Activate McAfee – while searching for that perfect destination, ensure you have your McAfee active and running at all times for your protection against potential threats.
  • Consider an Adblocker – click here to learn which adblocker is right for you.
  • Run a FixMeStick scan – ensure your system is malware-free before and after making your vacation plans!

What to watch out for:

  • Pop up advertisements It’s best not to click on pop up ads that lead you away from the website you are visiting. Many of these are social engineering and phishing scams. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Look out for the “Ad” symbol – When you type a keyword into Google, many hits will appear with results. The top 3-4 listings will likely be advertisements. Check the web address – do you see a small green square with the word “Ad” written inside?
  • Do your research – If you’re interested in booking with a company you haven’t used in the past, check to see if there are any reviews. A lot of reviews, and positive ones as the majority, are good signs of legitimacy for the company. If users have been scammed, there will likely be evidence of this on the internet.
  • Be wary at the checkout – Before you pay, check the URL in the web address bar – does it say http:// or https://? Never enter your payment information into a site that just has http:// – this means it is not secure. Additionally, always pay by credit card to ensure a traceable transaction, this way you can also cancel the charge immediately if you have been scammed. Avoid direct deposits completely, as these open a gateway to your bank account.
  • Read the fine print – this includes invoices, confirmations, travel insurance offers, and cancellation policies to name a few. There could be a loophole you are agreeing to and ultimately allowing a scam. If there is no fine print anywhere at all, this is a sure sign of a scam.

If you’re ever unsure, run a FixMeStick scan right away and you can always contact us and our team would be happy to help.