According to the American Automobile Association, more Americans will travel on Labor Day weekend in 2015 than in the previous six years: 34.7 million will hit the road and the skies. As Americans do their Labor Day travelling, there are safeguards that should be taken to assure online and monetary security. After all, $10 billion a year is lost to vacation scammers. Your Better Business Bureau has the following advice to those who plan to travel as they celebrate summer’s end.
At the start
Remember that scammers often work their schemes on those who are planning their vacations. Try to:
• Use only reputable websites when booking your vacation. Some of those fabulous looking listings are completely faked. Always check out the company with the BBB.
• Never wire money for vacation rentals.
• Whenever possible pay with a credit card.
• Know that airline loyalty account holders are sometimes targeted by phishing scammers trying to get you to click on a link and provide your ID number and password. Phishing scams are increasing. Delete suspicious emails.
• Ignore emails that claim to be about a travel itinerary that you know you did not book. They are phishing for credit card numbers and bank info by trying to make you believe there is a problem with your arrangements, or get you to panic at the thought of an incorrectly booked trip.
• Beware of any deal that seems too good to be true. It usually is.
• Don’t over share information about travel plans on social media. Many burglars watch for vacant homes by reading your posts. Share your photos online only after your trip is over.
While in route
Your online security is especially vulnerable while you travel. Use these practices to reduce your risks:
• Keep careful watch of your laptops or other devices at crowded airports. 12,000 laptops go missing every week from airports. Security checkpoints are often where someone picks up someone else’s property.
• Have tracking software installed on your devices just in case they turn up missing.
• Remember that 90% of public Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecure. Fraudsters can create an evil twin of a public hotspot – a rogue network that looks legitimate. Watch out for pop-up windows seeking information under the guise of updating one of your programs.
• Do any online bill paying or banking before you leave home.
• Be sure your antivirus and security software has been updated.
Once you’re there
Don’t let a scammer spoil your stay at that favorite vacation spot. These tips can help you keep safe:
• Hotel Wi-Fi users should take all of the above precautions as well.
• Scammers can fake calls, claiming to be from the front desk and saying there is a problem with your credit card. Don’t give them any information over the phone.
• Takeout menus can be slid under your door, hoping you’ll call a number and order food using your credit card. That’s how they get your information. No food will come. Check first with the hotel to be sure of legitimacy.
Make your Labor Day travels as hassle-free as possible by taking steps to avoid scammers. For questions or concerns about your travel plans, contact your BBB by calling (800) 856-2417, or visit our website at bbbinc.org.