Holidays are regularly booked online these days but there are still pitfalls to this. By booking on a smart device, prospective holidaymakers could be running the risk of being scammed. Research shows that 61 per cent of smartphone users could be leaving themselves vulnerable to scammers, according to a new survey from cybersecurity firm ESET. It’s important Britons protect themselves against the perils of online booking.
An expert has shared with Express.co.uk the best ways to avoid being scammed and what to do if you are.
“With the worst of winter behind us, people are starting to get excited for their summer holidays,” said Branislav Orlik, a Product Manager for Mobile Security at ESET.
“But the truth is that many of us leave ourselves vulnerable to online scammers when looking for travel deals.”
He added: “While an email deal or competition may seem enticing, clicking through on an unsafe link or entering your details online can make you vulnerable to hackers and leave your personal data at risk.
“It is crucial to consider how you can best protect your devices.”
Often, if a deal seems too good to be true, it is. Orlik revealed what to look out for.
“Key warning signs include watching out for very new brands which are selling at rock-bottom prices, all while having limited information about contact details, privacy and terms and conditions,” he said.
“Or if they demand payment up-front for vouchers before you can access a cheap deal, and don’t allow payment through a secure payment service such as PayPal or a credit card transaction.”
Travellers should watch out for phishing email attacks claiming “you have won a holiday.”
They should also be wary of fake “travel deal” emails as they can contain malware.
ESET advise doing your homework if you haven’t visited a particular travel company’s website before, and research reviews and comments from trusted review sites.
Another tip is to be cautious of travel deals you see on social media – even if there are lots of “likes” on the post.
There are plenty of scams that take advantage of easily accessible and cheap social media advertising platforms.
Orlik advises internet users to protect themselves by downloading antivirus software for all their devices, including smartphones and tablets.
“Ensure your chosen anti-virus software is up to the job and offers features like real-time scanning, anti-phishing and an app lock, such as ESET Mobile Security,” he told Express.co.uk
He also shared his advice on what to do if the worst happens. “If you are scammed, the most important things to do include calling your bank immediately, filing a police report and, of course, updating your anti-malware software and completing a scan of your smartphone.”
Tourists should keep their wits act them while abroad too. Some foreign bars and restaurants use a currency trick which could represent hidden costs for holidaymakers.