24/09/2021

Scots urged to be aware of travel scams

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Fraudsters have turned their focus to travel and leisure scams as the number of people swindled rises as travel resumes post-lockdown.

TransUnion’s latest quarterly analysis has found that scammers are refocussing their efforts as digital fraud attempts soar.

The rate of suspected digital fraud attempts rose by 17% across industries globally when comparing Q2 2021 to Q2 of 2020.

Recent figures show that travel and leisure was one of the most impacted industries in the world for suspected digital fraud with a 156% rise in the last year making it the most impacted industry in the UK.

 

Travellers warned to be vigilant

TransUnion monitors digital fraud attempts reported by businesses in varied industries such as gambling, gaming, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail and travel and leisure, among others.

Data shows that younger people in the UK are likely to be driving this surge in spending across travel, leisure and hospitality as restrictions lift.

According to TransUnion among Gen Z, a third (33%) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they will spend more in the pub, and a similar amount (31%) on eating out. Meanwhile, spending on travel will also rise, with almost four in 10 planning to spend on a staycation (37%) and over a fifth on a holiday abroad (22%).

Speaking of the rise in travel and leisure scams, Sarah Golding, Director of Fraud and ID at TransUnion UK said: “Cyber-criminals will periodically shift their focus in line with consumer habits and with many countries, including the UK, beginning to relax COVID-19 restrictions, we saw a surge of transactions being targeted in the travel and leisure industry.

“With people making up for lost time and booking holidays and days out, businesses need to take all possible measures to ensure consumers can trust that their transaction is safe, while maintaining a smooth customer experience.”

 

Digital fraud is on the rise

It’s not just the travel and leisure industry that has been affected.

The rate of fraud attempts on global financial services had risen by 149% when comparing the first four months of 2021 and the last four of 2021.

However, when comparing Q2 2021 and Q2 2020, the rate of suspected online financial services fraud attempts has still risen, but at a much lower percentage of 19% globally, reflecting this sudden shift towards other sectors.

 

How to spot travel scams

From fake accommodation to deals that really are too good to be true, it’s important to be on the lookout for potential scams when planning any trip. Here we offer three handy tips to make spotting scams easier.

  1. Cheaper isn’t always better: If you find an incredibly cheap deal online that surpasses any others you have found, be wary. Flight process are largely set by airlines with some airlines having some leeway, so if you find a deal that is significantly less can be a sign that a scammer may be behind the offer.
  2. Don’t fall for fake listings: With the rise in popular booking sites such as Airbnb it’s important not to get caught out with a fake listing. While platforms such as this can be a great way to find a bargain, they can also be used by scammers to entice travellers with exclusive, non-existent deals. Watch out for red flags such as being asked to pay by bank transfer outside the internal system.
  3. Make sure you’re protected: Looking out for logos on any holiday offers is a must. If you see the Atol logo in a travel company’s advertising, or it’s mentioned in the listing, it should mean your holiday will be protected. If you’re unsure you can use the Check an Atol tool on the CCA website to confirm the Atol details of your travel provider and verify the claims they’re making.

 

 

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