scary travel booking scams to watch out for and how to avoid them

Scary Travel Booking Scams To Watch Out For And How To Avoid Them

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With the rise in the travel industry, travel booking scams are at their peak too. It is the second most reported scam to FTC with over 40,000 frauds as of January 2020. Resulting, a loss of $75M. Thus before planning a vacation, you must beware of online travel booking scams and how to avoid them.

Types Of Online Travel Booking Scams


Let’s discuss the variants of travel scams and how you can identify them.

Unsuspicious Emails From Popular Booking Sites 

No! It doesn’t mean a big travel firm is trying to do a scam with you. Its brand name could be misused by a scammer, to get your details or ask you to book a vacation through a given link or portal. Later, you will realize the booking did not happen in reality. It was a fraud. Till that time, probably your money will be gone. 

Unsuspicious Emails

Fake Websites

Making websites is much easier than ever before. Undoubtedly, this can help businesses to grow online yet the technology is being misused for making fake travel websites too, where you will get too good to be true kind offers and if you could not resist yourself to grab the deal, you will be trapped. 

Scammers make fake websites with famous brand names to make them look real.

Unrealistic Giveaways

If you get a mail/SMS stating you could win a trip to Paris. 90 times out of 100, this kind of communication is fake only. If yes, please report it as fraud. It may give a red flag to other potential victims too.  

Travel Club Memberships

It is one of the common ways to trap people. In this, you will be asked to deposit a decent amount as a membership fee and will be promised to offer free/high discounted international trips. 

Make sure, you do not sign any document or give a single penny to such people before getting all the terms and conditions in writing. If they are a genuine company, you will get everything in writing without even asking.

Travel Club Memberships

Third-Party Scams

Ah! Human nature. We look for discount offers and vouchers before making the payment. A lot of times, we reach a website where we get surprising offers that we do not give a second thought before making a payment. Here, we get trapped. 

Free Travel Offers

These websites will ask for your credit card details and some amount as security, maybe. Also, it will create such a huge pressure on yourself to not let you think. In addition, you will never get travelling dates within 60 days as most people pay through credit cards. Duration to raise a dispute is 60 days only. This way, they protect themselves from legal controversies.

You may get such offers through SMS or calls. People can visit you in person too. Do not think if they are meeting you personally so they can not be fraudsters.

Remember, no company will send you on a trip for free of cost. It happens just once in a blue moon. You have to bear minimum travel expenses so, do not get trapped with these free trip offers.

Accommodation Rental Frauds

Scammers enlist rental properties for travel on the web at minimum prices. They often run ads too so to increase the reach. You can easily book them through online banking. When you reach the destination, there you realise that you were trapped. It is really hard to identify this fraud as sometimes even the property dealers or homeowners get involved too. 

Accommodation Rental Frauds

Bait And Switch Fraud

In this situation, you may not even feel like a fraud. Here, hotel managers will request to shift at the other site due to the unavailability of rooms that will not be as per your standards. 

Currency Exchanges Scams

If you are travelling abroad, you should get the currency exchanged from someone known to you rather than an online vendor. If doing so, make sure you check their earlier works and you get the receipt of all transactions.

Tips To Protect From Travel Scams


Mere knowledge about online travel booking scams isn’t enough. You must know how to avoid travel booking scams.

  • Always check whether the website has reliable customer support or not. 
  • Check customer testimonials and google reviews (these can’t be deleted from the admin side).
  • Do not make any transaction without getting everything in writing.
  • If there is no information regarding the company’s physical presence, do not proceed further.
  • If you feel something fishy, ask for company registration documents or check on the web. There are websites where you can company’s legal identification through their domain names.
  • Do not share much information about your travelling plans on social media platforms.
  • Avoid using public hotspots or Wi-Fi’s.
  • Make payments through reliable banking platforms only.



After taking all preventive measures, if you still get trapped in an online travel booking scam, do not panic and immediately raise a dispute in the cybercrime cell. All the best for your next trip. Hoping you do not face any fraud. 


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