Look out for this holiday booking scam in South Africa

Many South Africans might be tempted to book a cheap holiday deal for an overseas trip this festive season, but that is exactly what scammers are preying on.

SABRIC has warned that criminals will be working overtime this holiday season, and will attempt to exploit South Africans in various ways.

One trap which has caught out many South Africans is a holiday booking scam, where criminals prey on locals looking for last-minute holiday plans by offering them an unbelievable deal.

The scam runs according to the following four steps:

  1. Searching – While looking for last-minute accommodation or an all-expenses-paid trip, you find an incredibly attractive deal.
  2. Booking – Blinded by the price of the offer and its accompanying compulsion to book quickly or lose it, you sign up for the deal.
  3. Paying – Continuing, you pay for the offer in full via your bank card or through an EFT.
  4. Ghosting – Upon contacting the rental agent to make final arrangements, nobody answers. The deal never existed.

Criminals trick victims into ignoring a number of warning scams to con them this way, such as hastening them to secure the deal so they do not notice the website is fraudulent.

Due to this manipulation, victims ignore things such as a lack of HTTPS security or “declined payments” which then ask you to EFT an amount into a specific bank account.

Even worse, once you have been scammed in this way, your credit card details have been compromised and can be used to commit further fraud.

Too good to be true

There are a number of steps you can take to avoid being conned this way when booking your holiday, but the best advice is the adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.

Other steps South Africans can take, however, include the following:

  • Do not trust websites that are unfamiliar.
  • Don’t fall for offers that are available at a very low price.
  • Register for 3D Secure to secure your card details.
  • Don’t send emails that quote your card number and expiry date.
  • Do not confirm your banking or personal details via a link supplied to you.

It is not too difficult to imagine someone falling for this type of holiday booking scam, especially if they are unfamiliar with how international booking websites work.

By following the steps outlined above, however, you should be able to spot and avoid this type of scam.

Now read: Beware DStv Premium upgrade scam in South Africa

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Look out for this holiday booking scam in South Africa