For starters, is that dirt cheap flight to Tokyo too good to be true? Probably so, especially when the booking site also offers a boatload of other deals at shocking, unbeatable prices - who does that? A scam artist looking to take your money, that’s who. For this reason, you need to learn how to sniff out these “too good to be true” offers. To help you out, here are some tips:
- Go official: Book a trip directly with an airline or hotel, or through a reputable agent/tour operator.
- Do your research: Do a thorough online search to ensure the company is legitimate. Are there very few pictures of the business’ property, or unfavorable reviews? If they’re suspect, other people may have posted their negative experience to warn others.
- Stay safe online: If sent a deal via social media or email, be very cautious and think before you click! The link may direct you to a malicious site. Make sure to pay special attention to the website name and domain. You may notice small changes in the name or domain – such as going from .com to .ru, which can direct you to a completely different company.
- Pay safe: Don’t pay in cash, via bank transfer (MoneyWise, Western Union), or virtual currencies like Bitcoin. These payment methods are hard to trace and are non-refundable! Instead, pay with a credit card. Also, check that the website uses a padlock icon (https) on the address bar, indicating it’s secure.
- Use your instincts: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Report it: Keep all of the evidence and report it to your local authorities right away.
Use these tips to help avoid becoming the next victim of a scam. Remember, always look before you book. Otherwise, you’ll cry after you buy.