Travelling soon? Tips to stay sharp and avoid fraud

Lifestyle Tuesday 05/September/2017 19:58 PM
By: Times News Service
Travelling soon? Tips to stay sharp and avoid fraud

If your suitcase is full, don’t worry — protecting yourself from fraud doesn’t mean more packing. Fraudsters are waiting for you to slip into cruise control, so being alert can save you stress — and money. But when do you need to be on your toes and when can you kick back and relax? Let’s walk through a few travel checkpoints so you know where threats are lurking.

Travel planning
Window shopping for your perfect trip can ignite wanderlust. But keep your wits as you browse through destinations and travel offers online. You’ll want to be extra careful, especially if you plan to make a payment or provide personal information for bookings. You’re probably using a phone, computer, tablet or combination of these to do your planning. Regardless of what device you’re on, you can use your travel savvy to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Watch out for:
• Offers for “free” trips, or travel prices that are too good to be true
• Fake travel websites
• Hidden costs in package deals - read the fine print!
• Requests for personal information

As with any online purchase, check the URL of the site you’re on. If you’re looking at a web page but the URL doesn’t match the site you had in mind, you could be looking at a fake site being run by a fraudster.

If your site checks out, read the fine print and know exactly what you’re signing up for before you enter any payment or personal info. Don’t hesitate to call and confirm any of the information you see. If the company or individual doesn’t offer a phone number, it’s probably not legit.

While you’re travelling
You dodged the traps and booked your travel with ease. But the fraudsters haven’t called it quits, and neither should you. There are a few hot spots where you should stay alert, including:

* Airports
* Hotel lobbies
* Public hangouts (like coffee shops or popular tourist hubs)

Pickpocketing is popular in these busy atmospheres. Avoid distractions that take your focus away from your belongings.
Protecting your digital information is just as important as your physical space. High-traffic areas may offer public Wi-Fi. These networks are an easy access point for cybercriminals. Some fraudsters even create their own hot spots and name them based on the location.