Whether you are planning a late vacation, or simply traveling for work, the incidence of fraud is continuing to increase at a rate of 13%. (Source)
Travel brands and online travel agencies (OTA) are no exception to this trend. Rates for this industry have increased in the last year, rising by 37%, almost three times above average. (Source)
Fraud in this industry is year-round, but look for seasonal fluctuations to occur in the lead up to big travel dates, like the upcoming holiday season.
Fraudulent travel websites also pop up during the vacation season—to lure in bargain hunters. Your best bet is to stick only with name brand travel sites like Priceline, Orbitz, or AirBnB when making reservations. Or book directly with the airline, hotel, or car rental of your choice. You may want to create a free Gmail or Hotmail email address to use when making online reservations.
Even if you avoid the shady websites of internet travel scammers, your personal information can still be at risk. In the last two years, hackers have hit the travel industry hard, causing major data breaches at Marriott, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Orbitz. These travel-related brands have a lot of personal information about their guests, so we can expect these cyber-attacks to continue.
What is your biggest risk when traveling? Public wifi. Try to avoid using free public wifi. Rely on your cellular data plan, a password-protected, private WiFi network, or use a VPN. Sadly, most travelers ignore this critical threat, with 75 percent connecting to public WiFi abroad, and nearly half shopping or banking on public WiFi. (Source) If you cannot avoid the temptation to join a pubic wifi, at least limit your activity to browsing, stop short of purchases and any financial transactions.
Here are some additional common-sense tips to help keep your identity secure this travel season.
- Don’t travel with important documents.
- Book travel with your credit card. There are better protections in the event you do experience fraud.
- Make it look like you never left.
- Saving your social media posting for when you return.
- If you are traveling internationally, alert your financial institutions, it will help you avoid an account freeze.
Do you have an identity protection program in place to help protect your employees and customers? There are lots of solutions in the marketplace. KII Consulting, Inc. can help you determine which on is right for you. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.