Traveling this summer? Here's a few tips to protect yourself from scams.

Fraud ticks up during the summer travel season. Follow these tips to help keep yourself and your money safe.

Wherever the money is, scammers will follow.

Unfortunately, for many vacationers in the Northern Hemisphere, that can mean unwanted travel partners.

Over this summer’s travel season, Visa predicts that AI scams will be hotter than ever.1 But that doesn’t mean you have to count yourself a victim. Keep yourself cool this summer with these four security tips.

1. Go fishing. Don’t get phished.

Visa’s fraud experts predict that phishing campaigns related to summer holiday travel and special events will increase over the next several months.2 These scams can use lure in unsuspecting victims with special offers like travel or accommodation deals to encourage targets to visit fake websites, making their devices and data vulnerable to scammers. To avoid getting phished:

  • Always check URLs and email addresses for spelling errors and accuracy to make sure they’re legitimate.
  • Remember, numbers can be spoofed. Look up your bank or credit card company’s phone number instead of answering calls or texts. No reputable company will be upset if you want to call back to verify they are legitimate.
  • Set up two-factor authentication on your accounts and devices, which can help monitor for red flag activity.

2. Don’t pay for a scammer’s vacation.

When you pay with Visa, your purchase is protected by Visa’s Zero Liability policy, which ensures you are not responsible for unauthorized transactions made on your Visa card.3 Paying with other methods, including wire transfers or peer-to-peer payments, does not necessarily grant the same level of protection. To avoid paying for your scammers vacay:

  • Be skeptical of requests to use nontraditional payment methods. Being asked to pay by wire transfer, crypto, gift cards or peer-to-peer can be a red flag you are dealing with a scammer.
  • Always check URLs and email addresses for spelling errors and accuracy to make sure they’re legitimate.

3. Don’t get burned by hot deals on fake rental properties.

In fake rental property scams, criminals create fake accommodation listings on legitimate travel booking websites. These “hosts” will then offer accommodations for a low price. Excited victims then pay for what sure looks like a deal, either through a legitimate booking platform or outside of it (which should be a red flag on its own). When the victim arrives? The property either doesn’t exist or is not what they were promised. What’s worse is that large events like festivals and sporting events are common targets, leaving would-be attendees without a place to stay. To stay safe:

  • Search the address to see if the location is, indeed, an accommodation.
  • Reverse image search photos from the property listing to see if they are stock or stolen from another location.
  • Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Any listing that seems like a steal might be — you just might be the one getting stolen from.

4. Take in the sights, but be aware of your surroundings.

Some scammers stick to old-school methods. While tourists are distracted by the sights, sounds and smells of vacation, pickpockets look for purses and wallets to steal physical cards and cash. To avoid sticky fingers:

  • Consider bags you can keep close to your body. Fanny packs across the chest or cross-body bags are harder to rob than purses or totes. The closer it is to your body, the easier it will be to feel a pickpocket attempt.
  • Keep the number to cancel your card stored on your phone. Sure, it’s on your card, but that doesn’t help you when your card is stolen. In the unfortunate event your card is lost or stolen, Visa’s digital emergency card replacement service can send you a digital replacement card straight to your inbox or via text message on behalf of your bank. The moment it arrives, you can authenticate and instantly add it to your digital wallet, ensuring your travels remain uninterrupted.

Summer is supposed to be a time of rest and relaxation. To keep it that way, stay safe, secure and aware during your travels — so scammers don’t have a payday from your vacation.

Learn more about Visa’s digital emergency card replacement service.

1 Visa PFD

2 Visa PFD

3 Visa’s Zero Liability Policy does not apply to certain commercial card and anonymous prepaid card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. Cardholders must use care in protecting their card and notify their issuing financial institution immediately of any unauthorized use. Contact your issuer for more detail.

Tag: Travel Insights Tag: Payment Security Tag: Fraud

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