The internet brings vacations and getaways to travelers’ fingertips, but instant access also means vulnerability to fraudsters looking to steal data. Scams such as fake phone numbers on popular search engine results can lead to stolen money or sensitive personal information like credit card details.
Next time you search the web to book that long-awaited vacation, consider these tips from the experts at Expedia to spot, avoid and report scams.
Identify common scams
* Search engine and gift card scams: Fraudsters will buy fake ads with illegitimate contact information for well-known companies to pose as agents and ensnare people searching for online support numbers. These imposters often request gift cards in exchange for services such as a trip refund or flight change, wire transfers or sensitive personal information. They may even use personal data obtained from unaware customers to use an itinerary look-up tool and view real trip details in order to gain additional trust.
* Phone call scams: Scammers will sometimes use “spoofing” technology to make telephone numbers appear legitimate then claim a customer won a prize such as cash, a trip or credit for future travel from a trusted travel company. In exchange, these convincing scammers may ask for personal information including a name, address, payment information and social security number.
* Email scams: Phishing is a scam criminals use to ask for personal information via email by tricking recipients into clicking a link, opening an attachment or directly providing the information. When they appear to come from established businesses or organizations, the emails can be quite convincing, as they sometimes even link to legitimate-looking websites.
When in doubt, end the conversation
If you think you’ve received a fraudulent phone call or are in contact with an imposter, hang up or end the conversation immediately.
Do not click any suspicious links or engage further. Double check the sender’s address and delete any suspicious emails. Take note of how you came into contact, such as the phone number you dialed, the contact information displayed and any other identifying information provided by the scammer.
Contact representatives of the company the scammer claimed to represent along with the Federal Trade Commission and state attorney general.
Trust the experts
With a trusted travel group like Expedia, your experience and safety are the top priorities, meaning representatives won’t request a gift card in exchange for services, call or send an email asking for account passwords, request personal information unrelated to a previous service issue or request wire transfers or payment information through text messages.
If you need help with your trip, visit Expedia.com or use the mobile app for self-service tools like a 24/7 virtual agent so you can easily change or cancel trips, redeem credits and check on the status of a refund, all without having to call in to speak with an agent.