62% of vacationers will be traveling domestically and 42% internationally this year. The research shows that inflation and the cost of living crisis are causing new concerns for leisure seekers who may fall for scams in their quest to find a good deal.
It's easy to fall for a deal too good to be real, with 94% of people booking their travel online in 2018. In the current economic climate, adults are more likely than ever to look for a bargain online (56%), to act quickly to grab a deal (45%), to try a different booking site (35%), and to even travel to a new location (36%), to save money. Travelers should be vigilant to avoid being scammed.
The research found that online travel scams come in many forms. 14% of adults were tricked to make payments through fraudulent platforms, and 18% had their identities stolen when they booked online.7% of this group entered passport information, and 11% gave other personally identifiable information.
61% of people are concerned more about digital threats, such as pickpocketing, than physical ones. 85% of adults have some or high concerns regarding their identity being compromised during their travel. Despite this, however, 48% of people admitted to being less cautious when on vacation.
Many people engage in activities that can increase their risk of crime when traveling.
The dangers are not unknown to people either. While 44% of the people believe that their personal information is less safe when they connect to the internet while on holiday, 43% use any services to monitor their online identity's safety, and 50% do not use a VPN on vacation. Of those who do, only 20% do so to stream geo-specific material.
Even though travelers are aware of the risks, they still engage in this behavior. Social media is the most popular online activity that people use their phones while on vacation (60%), but also chatting with family and friends (55%), online banking (35%), and sending money through apps like PayPal or Venmo (22%).
62% of respondents said that their children also use the internet when traveling. The relaxed attitude extends to children, with 39% saying that they are either less vigilant or only monitor their children's online activity when they are at home.
Cagla Ruacan is McAfee’s Head of Product Strategist and Insights. She says, "People are more relaxed and carefree away from home but it's more important than ever to be vigilant when traveling."
Staying alert and taking precautions is important to keep you and your family safe from online travel scams. By taking early and proactive measures to manage your online identity, privacy, and security, you can enjoy your well-earned holiday in a more secure and confident manner.
Before you click, think. Cybercriminals use fake websites or phishing emails to trick people into clicking on links that can lead to malware. Even if you get an email asking you to click on a travel link, it is best to ignore the message. Book directly with reputable companies.
Connect with caution. When on vacation, be cautious when connecting to public WiFi. Make sure that the WiFi is secure and connected to a trusted source. Use a VPN to secure your connection and protect your personal data as you shop, bank, and browse the web.
Check before you book. Check public records to confirm if a vacation rental is legitimate. Rents should not be paid for by wire transfer, gift cards, or prepaid cards. These types of transactions are often not reversible if the rental offer was fraudulent.
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