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Travel Phishing: Protect Yourself from Summer Scams

Travel Phishing: Protect Yourself from Summer Scams
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By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, InCyberDefense

Summer is a popular season for trips. Many people visit travel websites in search of the best possible deal on flights, destination attractions and places to stay. Unfortunately, travel phishing scammers are also aware that travel sites are especially popular during the summer, and they seek ways to relieve travelers of their money or personal information.

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How Travel Phishing Scams Work

For a travel phishing scam to work, an attacker will commonly set up a fake website that looks like a real travel website, such as Expedia or Airbnb. Victims are enticed to the fake website through links in social media posts or emails. These communications advertise low-cost or free airline tickets, good deals on house rentals or hotels, or free amusement park tickets.

In some cases, an attacker may even create a flight confirmation email from an airline. The email tells the traveler to “confirm” the plane ticket and to click on a link, which takes the traveler to a fake website to enter information the attacker can use. Some of these fake emails even contain a PDF or Word document that appears to be a receipt, but is actually malware.

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Tips for Avoiding Travel Phishing Scams

Attention to detail and common sense go a long way in helping you to avoid becoming the victim of a travel phishing scam. Andrey Kostin of the Kaspersky Daily blog recommends the following tips:

  • Look at the website’s address carefully. Scammers often put extra words or letters into a URL to redirect you to a non-legitimate site. Also, pay close attention to shortened URLs; some of them can lead to malicious websites.
  • If you receive an unsolicited email, hover your cursor over the link to see the URL’s destination address.
  • Stick with trusted travel providers and type their website into your browser by hand.
  • If you see an offer advertised on a social media site or in an email, check with that company’s official website to see if that deal really exists.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a trip to some fun location. But remember — if an offer appears too good to be true, research it carefully so you don’t get scammed.

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