How to Avoid Online Travel Scams
These days, traveling often involves engagement online — you search for best hotel deals, make a booking online, reserve your tour guide or book a restaurant in your destination.
Although not all of them involve money, there are instances when you need to bring out your credit card or use your PayPal account to make transactions. As rule of the thumb, treat every transaction online as suspicious until you’re proven otherwise.
Let’s get to know what are the possible tell-tale signs that you are possibly transacting with a bogus website, fake company or spurious transaction that need to be aborted as soon as possible.
1. Suspicious identity and singular method of payment.
This sounds unfair to those small companies that cannot keep up with multiple payment (and more overhead costs) options, but the idea is if the recipient of the account you’re told to pay to is not close to the name of the brand you’re transacting.
2. Lack of transparency.
The company name is quite similar to an established company that you suspect has been used to feed off the trustworthiness of name. The company doesn’t seem to disclose more about its identity and scant information can be found in its “about us” page. In its contact us page, the company does not have a physical address and only has a form purportedly to receive enquiries. But when you send a message it takes a long time to get a reply, if you get one.
3. Low-quality content.
Trying as much to copy a genuine website such as Agoda.com, Airbnb or some local tour guide company, the website does not appear secured, has plenty of grammar and spelling mistakes, and uses low-quality logo image, possibly lifted from Google Image.
4. Suspicious display rates.
Prices are attractive if not atrociously low that you wonder if they ever turn a profit. Competitors, such as in local tour business offer almost twice the price for the same service. Low rates are good, but if you get nothing out of the discount, you end up as loser.