With the returning vacation season, people around the world are searching for more travel destinations, affordable accommodations, and reasonably priced flights. Kaspersky researchers have observed fraudsters taking advantage of unsuspecting users by offering cheap airline tickets, booking deals, and vacation packages. To help travelers avoid scams, the company’s researchers have outlined common fraud schemes used to entice victims, along with advice on planning a scam-free vacation.

Ticket scams

Kaspersky experts have discovered numerous fraudulent websites claiming to offer cheap air flight tickets. These fraudulent phishing pages often mimic renowned airline services and ticket aggregators. Some even display real flight details by sending search requests to legitimate aggregators and presenting the received information. However, instead of delivering the purchased tickets, these scams aim to steal money and exploit personal information for malicious purposes. This may include selling bank details and identifying information on the dark web.

Accommodation scams

The next step in of trip planning is finding accommodation, which fraudsters try to exploit. One common accommodation scam involves fake online listings for vacation rentals or apartments. Scammers create attractive listings on popular platforms, displaying appealing photos and offering low prices to entice travelers. However, once a booking is made and payment is sent, the accommodation turns out to be non-existent

Another type of accommodation scam targets hotel bookings. Fraudsters may set up fake websites that mimic legitimate hotel booking platforms. These websites often prompt users to log in using their Facebook or Google credentials, which enables scammers to gain unauthorized access to the victims’ social media or email accounts. This can lead to identity theft, unauthorized transactions, and other malicious activities.

                 Example of phising page asking for login credentials

Survey and giveaway scams

Scammers create deceptive websites or send emails claiming that participants can earn a reward by completing a travel survey. These scams often prey on people’s desire for financial gain and their willingness to share their opinions. However, these surveys are designed to collect personal information, such as name, address, phone number, and even financial details, under the guise of eligibility requirements or prize distribution. In reality, the reward is never delivered, and the information provided is used for fraudulent purposes, such as identity theft or unauthorized access to financial accounts. On top of this, the survey usually ends with a request to share the site with friends so that they can also receive a prize. In such cases, cybercriminals are using the victims themselves as a tool for spreading the scam further.

                                                                                                                          Olga Svistunova

According to Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky, “Scammers are always on the lookout for unsuspecting travelers, targeting their excitement for vacation planning. From fake ticket aggregators to accommodation and survey scams, fraudsters employ various tactics to steal money and sensitive information. It’s crucial for travelers to stay vigilant and exercise caution when engaging in online travel activities. Verify the authenticity of websites, use trusted booking platforms, and never share personal or financial information without proper verification. Remember, a little skepticism can go a long way in ensuring a secure and scam-free vacation.”