Making travel plans online has become nearly as easy as ordering an Uber, but every year unsuspecting globetrotters lose millions in booking scams. So, if you’re booking that last minute trip or getting the summer holiday sorted, check our 6 top tips for booking securely.
1. Check to make sure you’re on a reputable site
Unfortunately, there are many fake flights booking, hotel and rental car websites out there just waiting for you to hand over your hard-earned cash and give you absolutely nothing in return. Here’s 6 tips to make sure you don’t get scammed.
2. Check the website URL
Check to make sure the URL of the site uses https in the address bar. Although some phishing sites have started to use https, too, this is still one way you can filter out some fake sites. Also, make sure the URL looks real: for example, check to make sure you’re on https://www.qantas.com, rather than a fake version.
3. Always, always ignore fake freebies
You will have seen these circling around social media sites like Facebook – popular ones are things like take a quick survey from “airline x” and win money or free frequent flyer miles! Virtually all of these types of promotions are fake and you should avoid taking part in them or spreading them around – liking or sharing etc. Also, we recommend you don’t enter any personal information into a “survey” or any other form you find on Facebook, or any other social media sites.
4. Go directly to the source
Use the airline or hotel’s actual website to make sure you’re getting the real thing. If you’re not sure, you can always make a quick phone call to the number listed on the site to make sure it’s legitimate.
5. Take care with 3rd party websites
There are a fair number of comparison websites out there that review prices from different companies to help you get the best deal. These sites are great at helping save time and money, but if you’re using these sites make sure they’re reputable. You can easily check by searching for them by name on Google. A quick search like “is booking.com a reputable site?” will help you make sure it’s legitimate as they’ll be reviews available for you to read.
6. Never take communication off the website or platform
If you’re using a site like Airbnb to book a holiday rental directly from the owner, make sure all of your communication happens on the site. If an owner tries to take your conversation offline or over email (or any other form of communication), that should be a red flag for you. Never agree to send money directly to someone’s bank account – all payments should be made on the site — that way, if something goes wrong, the site can help you recover your lost money.
Taking care upfront while researching and booking your next holiday will ensure that you can have a great time. Enjoy!