Watch out for travel scams this Easter

Your dreams of a relaxing holiday could turn into a nightmare if you don't verify your accommodation packages before payment

IF YOU are travelling this Easter and haven’t yet finalised your arrangements, be wary of fraudsters who target people who are desperate to secure travel and accommodation at the last minute.

‘If you have or haven’t yet booked your travel and accommodation, not only are you likely to pay a premium, but you could also fall victim to some online scams,’ said Sahil Mugar of FNB’s digital banking division.

Fraudsters exploit potential holiday makers by falsely advertising holiday accommodation or timeshares on the internet and social media, and consumers are deceived into paying upfront in order to secure their bookings.

‘This gives scammers an opportunity to request ID copies and bank details of their victims, which are then used for identity theft,’ said Mungar.

He says consumers should be extra cautious when booking accommodation online.

• Always try and book accommodation three months in advance or longer to avoid disappointment.

This will help you to qualify for discounts and gives you enough time to do the necessary background and security checks.

• Use search engines such as Google if you’re worried about a property or suspect that the photographs are fake. Look for reviews from other travellers and use Google Maps to ensure that the place exists.

• Websites such as tripadvisor.com or booking.com can be used to read reviews before booking accommodation.

• Avoid depositing or transferring money to an individual’s bank account, or sending your personal details to their private email address. Instead, pay online on the accommodation’s actual website or in person at the venue.

• Look out for suspicious behaviour. Take notice of bad grammar in emails, foreign phone numbers, or if the owner or property manager is not responding to emails. These can all be warning signs.

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  AUTHOR
Laurie Smith
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