It’s that time of the year — scammers are taking advantage of people looking to book a room over the holidays.
Expedia, one of the largest travel sites in the world, warns about a phishing scam targeting unsuspecting customers, according to news reports.
Some Expedia customers have been emailed and called from someone pretending to work at the reputable company, after a breach at a third party disclosed their names, phone numbers, email addresses and travel bookings.
We are aware of a scenario involving fraudulent communications to a proportion of consumers who have booked on our site from an individual claiming to represent our organization or the hotel at which they have booked a room,” Expedia wrote in an email to its clients.
The purpose of the scam is to obtain further payment details directly from clients, Expedia says.
The notice says that credit card data was not compromised in the incident.
How to avoid travel scams
Don’t worry, your holiday is not ruined. There are a few generally-available tips and tricks that will help you stay safe before and after you plan your vacation:
- Be extremely skeptical of phone calls or emails with fake vouchers or cheap airplane tickets. Scammers usually redirect users to fraudulent hotel sites.
- When searching for a holiday room, look for more information about the hotel website. A quick search on WHOIS can do wonders.
- Before connecting to the hotel Wi-Fi network, especially if it’s open, protect classified files with high-level encryption tools.
- Update your antivirus and other important software before traveling, this helps protect you from fake message pops-up, for instance.
- Be extra-careful when you make online banking transactions. Use only secured websites if you have to type in confidential data, such as passwords or bank accounts.
And remember that malware doesn’t leave “out of office” notifications… Not even on summer holidays.