December has hit and before you know it Christmas will be creeping right around the corner. As the hustle and bustle puts you in a daze to get things in order for the season, a number of us also have to arrange traveling plans to make it home for the holidays.
However, despite it being the time for giving, scammers are definitely not giving travelers a break. Be aware of the following holiday travel schemes so you can be sure that you’ll make it home for the holidays.
“Hot Deals” via Text: With the increase in text message usage, scammers are turning away from the phone lines and preying on consumers via text. This holiday season, watch out for unexpected SMiShing that promise deals on travel tickets, hotel stays and car rentals. Scammers will include links to redeem so-called deals, but in reality, it’s only a click away to downloading malware onto your device that can steal your personal and financial information.
Hotel Safety: You’ve made it to your destination and now you’re comfy, cozy at your hotel, safe from any unexpected surprises, right? Wrong! Typically, when receiving calls in a hotel room, it’s usually from someone you have given your room number to or, more than likely, the front desk. Scammers have now found a way to contact travelers in their hotel rooms and pose as hotel representatives. If you get a call from the concierge and they ask for personal information (i.e. credit card info), HANG UP! Just like you would at home, never give financial or personal information over the phone. Go to the hotel front desk to speak about the request in person.
Vacation Rental: Sometimes a hotel just isn’t enough and you want the next best thing, a home away from home. Many of us have searched for these vacation rentals on sites like Craigslist, VRBO and AirBNB. However, scammers are either posting fake rental listings or stealing the identity of legitimate listings. When you find a listing, make sure to speak with the property owner or manager directly to verify the rental exists before you give out any means of payment.
Safe travels and have a happy holiday!