Home News Travel Making summer travel plans? Scammers don’t take vacations

Making summer travel plans? Scammers don’t take vacations

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Making summer travel plans?  Scammers don’t take vacations

Raleigh, NC (WNCN) — Summer travel season is upon us and scammers are coming up with ways to steal your money — including creating fake online travel agencies that don’t exist.

In these inflationary times, people are looking for deals and that’s especially true when it comes to vacations which are becoming more and more expensive.

“They’re looking for advantages there, so, they’ll swoop on anything that they see that could be a potentially really good deal or they think it’s a good deal,” said Micki Boland of checkpoint, an IT security firm. “That’s where the cyber criminals are really cashing in.”

Phishing is the number one way these bad actors try and trick you, sending out email ads like ones offering you $100 in gift cards from Southwest Airlines if you click the link on the ad.

“Wherever you end up can be bad,” said Boland. “It could be a fake site or it could be what we call a ‘watering hole’ where you click it and then malware starts installing.”

An online ad for Vietnam Airlines looks legit, but it’s actually a clever clone.

“Anything you enter from there, you’re not entering your information into a form or you’re not clicking on links on a legitimate website,” said Boland.

By utilizing that fake website, you let the bad guys capture all your information without you knowing it.

Boland says you can check the authenticity of any website by looking for the “lock” icon. If you click the lock, if it’s legit, it’ll show you how that website protects your data.

Travel agents can be a big help in planning a trip, but there are fake travel agents like a Russian-based one called “Patriarch Travel” found on the dark web.

It offers 50 percent discounted prices using stolen accounts from airlines and hotels.

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia wanted to know if the people behind that fake site are selling directly to consumers or selling to a third party who then scams its victims.

“I think they’re selling them direct to the potential buyer,” said Boland.

Check Point researchers also found an internet ad offering hotel rewards points, but when you click it, the site actually steals your password and starts trying to plug it into other accounts.

“They literally just hit this account over and over and over trying to brute force into that account to take over,” said Boland.

Cybersecurity experts believe these travel scams are going to continue to explode in the coming year as more and more people get back to traveling — causing billions of dollars in losses from fraud.

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