Kaspersky Lab just issued a travel scam alert and advisory for this holiday season. Pay attention, so you will enjoy a great holiday!
Travel Scam Operations On The Rise!
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered several travel scam operations last month, seeking to trick holiday-goers looking for great bargains.
Fraudsters Are Phishing For Unwary Victims
There were more than 8,000 phishing attacks, disguised as offers from popular lodging platforms. In fact, 7,917 of those phishing attacks specifically targeted people looking for Airbnb rentals.
In one example, fraudsters created a phishing page that look like an Airbnb page, and pretended to offer cheap city-centre rentals with high review scores. Once the victim confirmed and paid for the booking, both the fraudsters and the offer disappeared.
Spam Is Still Effective!
In just one day, the researchers detected 7 different fake email blasts that are very convincingly disguised as offers from popular booking platforms for airline tickets and accommodation.
Three of those spam emails actually offered FREE FLIGHTS in return for the completion of a short online survey, and sharing the link with other people. After answering just three questions, victims were asked to enter their phone numbers, which were then used to subscribe to paid mobile services.
Travel Scam Methods
Spam and phishing attacks were amongst the most effective attack vectors. They use social engineering to manipulate and exploit human behaviour.
These travel scam operations are often very sophisticated, using fake sites that are almost identical to the legitimate websites.
They, therefore, easily trick unwary victims into handing over their credit card details, or pay for a product or service that does not exist.
Mobile Booking Risk
More people are booking their flights and accommodations on a mobile device, which makes it harder to spot fake links. This makes mobile users particularly vulnerable to both spam and phishing attacks.
Kaspersky Travel Scam Advisory
To avoid these travel scams, Kaspersky Lab recommends taking these security measures :
- If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. AVOID IT!
- CHECK the link in the browser’s address bar before you key in sensitive information like your login and password.
If it is misspelled (e.g. airbnb.com.room.online), or does not match the page you are visiting (like this example below), or uses special symbols instead of letters, don’t key in any information. CLOSE THE PAGE!
- Book your stay and tickets only with trusted providers.
Make sure you are on their actual websites by typing in their address in the browser’s address bar.
- NEVER click on links that come from an unverified source, whether it’s in an email, an instant message or through social networks.
- Use a security solution with behaviour-based anti-phishing technologies like Kaspersky Security Cloud, or Kaspersky Total Security, which will warn you if you get tricked into visiting a phishing web page.
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