It is easy to overlook scams when you’re desperate to secure holiday travel and accommodation – only to find out you’ve been defrauded when you get to the venue.
Sahil Mungar, FNB Digital Banking says: “Fraudsters exploit potential holiday makers by falsely advertising holiday accommodation or timeshares on the Internet and social media.” You’re deceived into paying upfront in order to secure their bookings. This will than make them request your ID copies and bank details to be used identity theft.
To avoid scams, do the following:
- Always try and book accommodation three months in advance or longer to avoid disappointments. This will help you to qualify for discounts and gives you enough time to do the necessary background and security checks.
- Use reliable search engines like Google. If you’re worried about a property or suspect that the photographs are fake, simply look it up yourself online (enter a search in the web browser, don’t click on links which can take you to a false landing page).
- Look for reviews from other travellers and Google Maps to ensure that the place exists.
- Use websites like Tripadvisor to check reviews and booking accommodation securely. In most cases, these websites guarantee the booking.
- Call the publically advertised phone numbers directly to confirm the booking availability. Even if you they call you, rather hang up and call back on the official number.
- Avoid depositing or transferring money to an individual’s bank account or sending your personal details to their private email address. Rather pay online on the accommodation’s actual website or in person at the venue.
- Look out for suspicious behaviour. Take notice of bad grammar in emails, foreign phone numbers, or if the owner or property manager is not responding to emails. These can all be warning signs.
- If you have friends and family that stay close to the place, ask them to go and verify if it is legitimate.