According to a new study by cybersecurity firm McAfee, With summer approaching, cybercriminals are dusting off their playbooks and finding new ways to scam travelers without their knowledge.
After months of persistent inflation, post-pandemic travelers are proving to be more price sensitive than they were a year ago. According to forecasting website Hopper, domestic airline tickets cost about the same as last year, but hotel and restaurant prices have gone up. Plus, Hopper’s recent travel trends report reveals just that 60% of travelers They expect to spend more on their summer vacation this year, and come back to check the price of their trip before booking it. This phenomenon is left out 50% larger than in previous years.
McAfee’s new cybersecurity report for summer vacation, released Thursday, May 18, reveals that More than half of travelers (56%) They say they are more likely to use the Internet to search for deals because of inflation, and More than a third (35%) They say they are more likely to use booking sites they have never used before in order to get a good rate.
Unfortunately, this mindset can increase the risk of getting an offer that’s too good to be true.
“Vacations are one of the most expensive discretionary expenses of the year,” he says Steve GrobmanMcAfee Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. That’s why, especially in times of economic crisis, it’s only natural to look for a bargain and get what you pay for. And if you combine the deal-hunting mentality with the resilience available to cybercriminals today, you have a huge chance of these scams paying off. »
Almost a third of adults have either experienced or know someone who has been scammed while trying to save money on a trip, 34% of these victims Having lost between $500 and $1,000 before they set out on their journey, according to a California-based company surveying 7,000 people in seven countries.
These scams can take many forms: 14% of respondents were tricked into making payments through fraudulent platforms, 11% had their personal information stolen, 9% had their payment details stolen, and 7% had their identity cloned after transferring their passport data. them to a fake website.
Travelers are particularly easy targets, as they tend to let their guard down. “You want to go online to book a restaurant and you don’t have a cellular network. You see open Wi-Fi and think ‘why not,’” explains Steve Grubman.
Cybersecurity: How can travelers outsmart online predators this summer?
Pay attention to the tactics of online scammers. Many people, after searching for a product or service online, are flooded with advertisements on social media and search engines.
“One of the things we know about online scammers is that they use the same marketing tactics as legitimate companies,” says Steve Grobman. “There are underground marketing services that track user searches. Many scammers use these tactics. Some buy search terms and violate legitimate ecosystems.”
According to Steve Grubman, the problem is that social networking sites and search engines do not verify the legitimacy of these advertisers. “Online scammers can log your network address and see what you watched. If they see traffic from your network address again, they can target specific ads,” says Steve Grubman.
Advertisements from online scammers may seem completely legitimate. So, if you are looking for Barbados vacations and suddenly start seeing advertisements for Barbados deals, you should be very skeptical before clicking on these sites.
“There are definitely legitimate third-party travel booking sites out there,” says Steve Grobman. “But it takes more effort to ensure the reliability of a site you’ve never used before.”
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when planning your trip. It is more difficult for scam sites to track you with a VPN, which enhances cyber security by creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the server.
According to Steve Grobman, the ideal time to activate a VPN is when you are in the exploratory phase of planning your trip. “It adds an extra layer of anonymity,” he explains. “The good news is that our VPN technology and most other high-quality VPNs work on all major devices. So they work on phones, tablets, laptops, and computers.”
Open an incognito window. Even better than using a VPN alone, as Steve Grobman advises, it’s possible to combine a VPN with the privacy features of your Internet browser. Whether it’s Google Chrome’s Incognito mode, Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate mode, or Safari’s private browsing, Private Browser will add a nice extra layer of protection.
Think carefully about how you will pay. “Never pay for anything with an irreversible payment method. So never pay with prepaid cards, gift cards, or with bank transfer,” says Steve Grubman.
Online scammers make it easy, they often explain why you can only get a good deal if you pay the way they want. “The reason we give you such a good deal is because we don’t take the overhead of standard credit cards, which is why we only accept cryptocurrency and gift cards,” the caption quotes. Example Steve Grobman. For an objective observer, this will be a wake-up call. But if anyone is trying to figure out how this site could offer me such a good deal, it might sound reasonable. »
Understand the scale of cyber security risks. Not everything you do on open Wi-Fi poses the same risks. If you’re sitting in an airport’s departure lounge, you can safely check the weather, sports scores, and major news feeds, says Steve Grobman. “We want people to enjoy their digital lives, not to feel intimidated all the time. But be aware that the level of risk increases when you do something that identifies you.”
The McAfee survey found social media to be the most popular online activity for people using their phones while on vacation (60%), but also chatting with friends and family (55%), online banking (35%), and sending money through apps like PayPal or Venmo (22%).
To maintain your own cybersecurity, here’s a good rule of thumb: “If you only consume information, the risk is inherently lower than if you provide the information,” says Steve Grubman. This means that you should stop and think before providing a password or personal information. First, take the time to activate the VPN and open a private browser.
Hence, when it comes to cyber security, prevention is better than cure. “Once your data is on the dark web, it is in the hands of cybercriminals,” says Steve Grobman. “Once you take toothpaste out of the tube, you can never put it back in. It is in nature.”
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Susan Rowan Kelleher
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