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Despite the fact that many vacationers have already booked their summer getaways, others are scrambling to find cheap deals online, with many citing the cost-of-living issue and record-high inflation as the cause.

More than half of today’s travellers are more likely to actively go hunting for bargains on travel due to increased cost concerns amid increased financial pressures in today’s economic environment, according to the results of a recent market research survey commissioned by leading internet security company McAfee.

Online booking is still the preferred way of trip preparation for the vast majority of travellers (94 percent) in 2023. International tourists on the lookout for a bargain may be more susceptible to falling for scams because of their desperation.

This means that consumers are more likely than ever to take risks in the hopes of saving money, providing a potentially unprecedented opening for hackers.

More and more people are putting their digital security at risk to save money.
More than one-third (35%) of adult American customers have fallen victim to an online vacation booking fraud before even packing their bags, according to McAfee’s Safer Summer Holidays research. Sixty percent of the victims had up to $1,000 taken from them, while forty percent lost $1,000 or more to the con artists.

Nearly half (47%) of those surveyed in McAfee’s study said they were more inclined to look for offers online, make a rapid decision to take advantage of a bargain (47%), use a booking site they had never used before (39%), or visit a new destination (37%).

People, it seems, have placed too much faith in sketchy internet trip booking services. Eighty-one percent of survey takers around the world indicated they have just as much faith in booking through a website as they would in making a hotel or airline reservation directly.

And 14% said they had been scammed or knew someone who had, even when using a reputable website to reserve their vacation property. In most cases, the booking site sent them to a third-party payment processor to send money to a person they believed to be the property owner or manager.

More than a fifth (15%) of all U.S. adults have had their identity stolen while making a reservation online, and nearly a quarter (22%) have been misled into making payments using fraudulent platforms. Eight percent of people who visited the bogus site supplied their passport details, and fourteen percent entered additional personal identity information.

Vacationing consumers’ worries don’t seem to correlate with their actions.
While on their journey, the vast majority of people are more worried about cybercrime than about things like pickpocketing. Although 41% of people say they are concerned about the safety of their personal data when using public Wi-Fi, their actions often betray their beliefs.

Many tourists in the United States increase their chances of becoming victims of cybercrime by doing things like using USB charging ports in public places like airports and train stations (31%), connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks (27%), and leaving their streaming account logged in after checking out of their accommodations (20%).

While 88% of Americans expressed “some” or “high” concern about identity theft during travel, 42% said they were less careful and security-conscious than usual.

According to McAfee’s research, many consumers are aware of the risks associated with cyberattacks and identity theft but yet don’t take preventative measures. The research found that 43% of Americans don’t utilise any services to keep their online identities safe, and 40% don’t even bother to use a virtual private network (VPN) when they travel abroad. Only 22% of VPN users do so specifically to unblock content that is restricted to specific regions.

SOURCE :- https://www.travelpulse.com/News/Features/1-in-3-Travelers-Scammed-When-Booking-Their-Trips-McAfee-Study-Finds


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