Though spring break is over, this is just the beginning of “travel scam” season. The latest one has fooled 90% of the people it targets.
Here are the top travel scams to avoid:
1) Point Theft:
The more that Gary Buffaloe racks up frequent flyer miles, the more he finds himself the target of scams, like the time his hotel points were stolen.
“I found out that someone had gotten into the system and was staying at Disney Land resort on my points,” he said.
If he had not thought to check his points, he may never have known his account was being drained.
We told Buffaloe about the latest travel scam, one that has fooled 90% of its targets according to the online security firm Barracuda.
It’s not your run-of-the-mill phishing email. The scammers research where you work and travel through social media, and send a bogus airline email with an “itinerary” attachment that’s really malware.
“They’re combining all these different approaches and information and research to target the attack more specifically to make it more legitimate,” said Kevin Hodges an IT expert with USC Upstate.
3) Home Rental and Free Travel scams
He also warns, this time of year online rental scams and fake free travel offers are rampant.
“The odds that someone just sent you the greatest deal ever is pretty slim,” said Hodges.
4) Car Rental Scams
You’ve got to know the facts when you rent a car, too. Lots of companies will offer you a low price but insist that you sign up for insurance. You likely already have that through your own carrier or even your credit card.
5) Impersonator scams
Krystal Coltrain another frequent traveler, warns watch out for fake hotel websites, and scams that impersonate real travel companies.
“A co-worker Googled the travel agency and he found the wrong number and the people that picked up said reservation desk, and they took his card information and charged like $800 or something,” said Coltrain.
Scammers may get caught.
“They played a scam on him,” said Buffaloe, referring to the man who had stolen his points.
“They sent him an email, saying you’ve just won more points, free night stay, you have to come and collect it. He came to collect it and he was arrested,” said Buffaloe.
But more than often, catching the scammer is as likely as winning a real free vacation.