Throughout the pandemic, we've seen a spike in scams that line up with demand. First, there were PPE scams, then vaccine scams. Now, travel scams are big.
“So, it's actually looking more like Americans are on track to receive about 4.9 billion travel scams in 2021,” said Giulia Porter, Vice President of Robokiller.
This comes at a time where travel prices are going up and people are looking for whatever deals they can find.
“What we're also seeing a lot of right now is actually scammers posing as big travel brands so, for example, we're seeing a lot of Marriott, Booking.com, airlines scams where the robocall itself is pretending to be, you know, the Marriott calling to say, you know, someone nominated you to receive a free stay somewhere,” said Porter.
She says a good rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you still want to be sure, hang up and call the brand to see if they are running a deal. That's also a good way to report the scam.
Marriott just filed a lawsuit due to increased reports of scammers pretending to be them.
“And so that's I think a big step in, you know, brands who are sick and tired of this type of stuff happening and damaging their reputation, so that's been great to see from like an industry standpoint, and we hope that, you know, other large travel brands can kind of step forward and do the same,” said Porter.
There’s also a deadline at the end of the month that all phone carriers have to meet under legislation passed in 2019. All networks will need a caller ID verification system.
Robokiller says this won’t necessarily block calls, but it should reduce spoofing. That’s when a fake number looks like it’s from your area code.
Also, keep in mind that scammers are reaching people through text messages and social media now too. It’s best not to click on any links that seem out of the ordinary.