Experts Are Saying Travel Scams Are Up 900% – Here’s What You Need To Look Out For

If you’re traveling soon, we need to give you a heads-up.

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Traveling is tough enough, as you have to pick the right airline, find the perfect hotel, and plan the ideal budget — but according to an industry expert, there’s one major obstacle making travel exponentially harder.

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We’re talking about travel scams. According to Booking.com and BBCtravel scams are up by as much as 900% over the last 18 months!

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According to Booking.com’s internet safety boss Marnie Wilking, the main culprit of these scams happens to be the influx of artificial intelligence (AI). She noted that the increase in AI has also led to an increase in phishing — the process where people get tricked into handing over financial details.

Orlando International Airport

Wilking said that the launch of ChatGPT began an “uptick” of issues. “The attackers are definitely using AI to launch attacks that mimic emails far better than anything that they’ve done to date,” said Wilking. With better language, a mastery of multiple languages, fewer grammatical errors, improved imagery, and a more legitimate look, folks who could see through these scams years ago might not be as lucky today.

With improved AI, attackers have had better luck convincing people to willingly hand over personal information through fake but convincing internet booking sites. Wilking noted that homestay sites such as Booking.com are prime targets since you can list your own rentals.

©Booking.com

Typically with these scams, once you pay, the attacker leaves you empty-handed — no reservation and no place to stay. On occasion, attackers might even follow up with more scams that will try to bleed you of money.

So, how do we fight back? Wilking suggests using two-factor authentication. This process involves additional security checks that you’re likely already used to with other things in your daily life. This authentication can include text messages and phone calls that require you to provide an extra step of verification.

©Getty Images

The next best thing is to always be more vigilant before clicking links. If something feels wrong, there’s a chance it is. When personal information and money are involved, it’s always better to be hesitant than to rush into a mistake.

Grand Floridian

Ultimately, it comes down to increased efforts from the travel industry in partnership with due diligence from travelers to put up a strong resistance.

Per consumer expert Jane Hawkes, some tactics you can rely on are checking for contact details (many scams purposely omit that information), booking vacation packages, and using credit cards to minimize debit damage and give yourself as much monetary protection as possible.

©Genmar.com.uk

Technology is advancing, and these scams won’t stop. However, we can adapt and overcome this new obstacle. As always, we’ll continue to bring you all sorts of travel advice and news, so stay tuned right here at AllEars for all the latest!

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What are some tips you have to avoid travel scams? Let us know in the comments!