♦ 51 per cent of Indian adults have fallen prey to online scams while trying to save money when booking for travel
♦ 77 per cent of those who had money stolen have lost up to $1,000 ( INR 83,000) before they begin their trip
♦ 61 per cent of Indian travellers are the most concerned about their device being compromised while traveling, highest globally
These are the findings of McAfee Corp from their new travel report ‘Safer Holidays’. Over 7,000 people across seven countries were surveyed to discover how safe it is to plan and book travel online, and how cautious people are when interacting with digital tools while traveling abroad.
The surveys also says 77 per cent of people whose money was stolen lost up to $1,000 (~INR 83,000) before they began their trip.
Among the Indian vacationers, 66 per cent will travel domestically this year and 42% will do so internationally. With inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, the research reveals new concerns for leisure-seekers who, in their quest for a good deal, may be more likely to fall for a scam. With 93 per cent of Indians booking travel online this year, it can be easy to get lured into a deal that’s too good to be true. In today’s economic environment, Indian adults are more likely to seek out a bargain deal online (54per cent), move quickly to snap up a deal (50 per cent), try a new booking site (44 per cent) and even a new destination (47 per cent), in order to save money. However, travel seekers need to stay vigilant to avoid falling for a scam.
Travel scams can take many forms, with the research finding 27 per cent of Indian adults have been tricked into making payments through fraudulent platforms and 36 per cent have had their identity stolen when booking online. Of this portion, 13 per cent entered passport information and 23 per cent provided other personally identifiable information to a fake website.
In total, 59 per cent of Indians are more concerned about digital threats than physical ones, such as being pickpocketed, and 94 per cent of Indian adults hold either some or high concern around their identity being compromised as part of their travel. Despite this, 31 per cent admitted to being less security conscious when on holiday. Whether it’s connecting to Wi-Fi networks even though they look a bit suspicious (38 per cent), using a free USB charging port at an airport or train station (34 per cent), or leaving their Netflix account logged in after checking out of their accommodation (29 per cent), significant numbers of people have engaged in activities that could put them at increased risk of crime while traveling.
It’s not that people are unaware of the dangers either. While 46 per cent of people think their personal information is less secure when they connect to the internet while on vacation, only 61 per cent make use of any services to monitor the safe per cent only do so because they want to stream geo-specific content.
Knowing the risks doesn’t stop travellers from engaging in the behaviour. While chatting with friends and family is the most common online activity for people to use their phones for while on vacation (70 per cent), the use of social media is also common (69 per cent), followed by online banking (52 per cent) and sending money via cash apps (41 per cent).
Of course, it’s not just adults that use the internet while traveling, with 77 per cent of respondents saying that their children spend time online, too. The relaxed attitude also applies to the kids, with 49 per cent of parents saying they’re either less vigilant when it comes to monitoring their children’s internet use while on vacation or only do so when at home.
Tips to protect yourself from online summer travel scams:
Think before you click
Cybercriminals use phishing emails or fake sites to lure people into clicking links that could lead to malware. If you receive an email asking you to click on a link, even if the travel deal sounds great, it’s best to avoid interacting with the message altogether. Always go direct to the source and book with reputable companies.
Connect with caution
Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi while on vacation and make sure the Wi-Fi is secure and attached to a trusted source. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your connection secure and to protect your personal data and activity as you bank, shop, and browse online.
Check before you book
When confirming if a privately-owned vacation rental is legitimate, check the name of the property owner in public records. Don’t pay for rentals by wire transfer, prepaid cards or gift cards. These types of transactions often can’t be reversed if the rental offer is fraudulent.
Use a holistic security solution with identity and privacy protection
From identifying malicious sites before booking, use of VPN, to identity theft protection that safeguards and monitors for personally identifiable information, a holistic security solution can give you peace of mind during your travel.