It is June and Summer vacations are just around the corner. The members of the Adaware Malware Labs Team are looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. But before the last beach ball is blown up and the sunscreen is put on, you should take a few minutes to protect yourself from something as important – your online security. The last thing you want is to be scammed before, during, or after your vacation this summer.
In a previous article, we discussed how to keep yourself secure when staying at an Airbnb, in this article we will continue the conversation by offering some tips on how to prevent a scam from happening, and what to do if one occurs to you while on vacation.
Do your homework
Preparing for your trip is critical to ensuring a fun and hassle-free vacation.
Be careful of offers in your inbox
Scammers are fully aware that at this time of year, people are researching vacation destinations. Since scammers always go to where there is potential to make money, consumers should be wary of certain travel emails they receive.
Fake travel companies
Recently, customers of travel websites Expedia, Travelocity and Hotels.com, had been targeted by phishing scams where the alleged perpetrators had contacted customers of the respective websites posing as representatives of those companies, offering heavily discounted flights and travel packages. In the hopes of gaining access to the customer’s personal information, including credit card numbers.
Flight check-in scam
In this scam, an email will be sent to you looking like it has come from the airline, and will encourage you to click on a link to complete the check-in process. Once you have clicked onto the website, you will be asked personal details including frequent flyer number. The goal of this scam is to rob you of all your frequent flyer points as well as to steal your identity.
What to do
If you receive a phishing e-mail, there are two things you should do: report it and delete it. Reporting any fraudulent e-mails you receive to the travel company being spoofed, you can help prevent other people from falling for this same type of e-mail fraud. To report a fraudulent email, be sure to send the email as an attachment.
Be careful where you surf
Because most pictures online are unprotected and very easy to access, with just a few mouse clicks a scammer can copy the logos, color schemes, font, and images from any travel websites and create a fictitious site for fraudulent purposes.
A scam site of this type tries to lure you in by offering you much lower prices for train, airplane, bus and other travel tickets than what would be on other legitimate sites. Once you click the accept button, the scammer can then capture all of your important credit card details. Some scammer will even go as far as sending you an email message stating that the credit card you used had been for some reason declined or that the credit card companies data center is down. The scammer will then suggest to save time that instead of paying for the ticket by credit card, it would be better if you were to wire funds, send a money order or pay by gift cards. The end result is that you have been scammed twice.
What to do?
Make sure that your home computer is protected. Install antimalware software like Web Companion and make sure they are always up-to-date. You should also install a personal firewall to act as a barrier to viruses and other external attacks and check for operating system patches and upgrades on a regular basis.
With summer fast approaching, protecting yourself online will help make it a great summer for everyone.