The shattered hopes of travellers across the world amid the coronavirus pandemic have increased opportunities for travel frauds. Taking advantage of helpless people who are unaware about their flight status and of others who are planning their future trips, scammers are using advanced technological tactics to make easy money.
Recent reports from a US based independent organisation — the Federal Trade Commission have recorded close to 5000 travel fraud related complaints resulting in losses of nearly $8 million. A bird’s eye analysis of the patterns used by travel agency frauds can help you avoid falling into the trap.
Most travellers present themselves as representatives of genuine agencies and convince customers into sharing their personal details for cancellations and refunds. By offering travel credit for future trips instead of refunds, these travel frauds can misuse your personal information. The best way to avoid this is to get contact details from credible business websites and to never share card details over call with anyone prior proper verification.
Another common travel fraud these days is manoeuvring people into fake insurance policies. Fraud travel agencies compel people to save their money by scaring them about the pandemic. It is significant to note here that most policies do not cover cancellations due to Covid-19. Instead, one should opt for ‘cancel for any reason’ upgrade policy under which if a trip is cancelled, compensation can be claimed. Besides one must purchase insurance from travel firms with good claim history.
As per the database of Scam Detector, founder Sorin Mihailovici has noticed a hike in timeshare resell cases. In the current situation, timeshare owners are putting extended efforts for selling prepaid weeks of vacation which they can’t use anymore to get some of their prepaid money back.
Cunning fraudsters offer hassle-free paper transfer with some additional charges and disconnect the call once they receive the payment and do not share any timeshare. One of the best ways to discern if you are being fooled is to check if the process feels like rushed.
Although it is best to stay alert about travel frauds, in case you get fooled you must come ahead to report the fraudster to the Federal Trade Commission and save other people who might possibly fall into similar trap. In case you shared your card details with the scammer, make sure you contact your bank immediately.
At a time when most of us are struggling to manage our mental well-being, it is easy to become vulnerable to travel frauds like these. It is always great to remain vigilant and read about the common scams in trend that will help you avoid such situations.