22 Jul Too Good To Be True? 5 Tell-Tale Signs Of Holiday Booking Scams
Whether you’re searching for a quick European city break or a trip around the world, you need to have your wits about you when it comes to booking your holiday.
We’re pretty well-versed in the world of online scams. But when a great holiday offer crops up, we really want to believe that it just might be the real deal.
But be warned. If a holiday deal seems too good to be true, it often is. Here are five tell-tale signs of holiday booking scams:
1. A Really (And I Mean Really) Cheap Online Deal
When you’re shopping around for a holiday online, you might be disheartened at just how expensive hotels and flights seem to be.
Then all of a sudden you come across a really great deal. Cheaper than cheap. The one you can afford and then some.
Take a minute. Step away from the “Book” button!
Flight prices are set by airlines. Occasionally, travel agents might be able to get slightly cheaper prices and better deals. However, flights and accommodation way lower than the norm is often a sign of a scam and should be the very first and the most obvious red flag. There are ways to save your money on travelling – but getting scammed by a fake really cheap deal isn’t one of them.
There are tons of holiday villa and accommodation sites out there. Airbnb, Holiday Lettings, HomeAway… Whilst there are loads of great hosts and rentals, you need to watch out for scam listings. These websites do their best to verify the offers, but every now and then a fake listing can go unnoticed until some poor travel lover is cheated. Don’t let it be you!
An owner who wants you to communicate or pay in a way not advocated by the booking platform should raise alarm bells. If the owner asks you to exchange emails (while their e-mail address looks random and shady), communicate on social media (while their profile consists of random posts and very little detail) or talk over the phone (that you can’t find in Google) – run away! These people will be happy to take your cash but there won’t be anywhere for you to stay when you get off that flight.
Scammers aren’t just after your hard-earned cash. They’re also pretty keen on getting your personal details so they can steal your identity and work on yet more scammer plans.
So if a holiday agent or booking site wants you to send over a scanned copy of personal documents, take a moment.
Do a bit of research and find out if there are real and genuine reasons for ID checks. For instance, laws in the country you’re visiting. If not, steer clear.
Scammers don’t like to be tracked down. They make their location as difficult to discern as possible. So if you’ve never heard of a company before, do your due diligence.
Ring the number they have on their website. Google their address. Find out whether everything stacks up.
And if the website doesn’t feature any contact information, think twice before handing over any cash.
5. You’re Being Hurried into Making a Decision
Sure it’s a tactic salespeople use too. But fraudsters can really pile on the pressure in order to secure a sale.
They might claim there’s a time sensitive offer that ends in a few hours. Or limited places that you’ll miss out on unless you transfer payment as soon as possible.
If you feel you’re being pressured and cajoled into paying for a holiday, you definitely shouldn’t commit to a booking. It’s better to walk away and miss out on a deal than lose all your holiday budget to a scammer.
The internet can be both your friend and your foe when it comes to booking a holiday. There are some great deals to be had. But there are also scams to avoid.
Do as much research as possible into holiday agencies. Read reviews. Trust your instincts. And approach with caution those holiday deals that just seem too good to be true.
Sienna Walker is an avid traveler who enjoys her travels long, exciting, and cheap if possible. Feel free to visit her @SiennaWalkerS and say “Hello”.