Expert Warns Of Surging Travel Scams

( – It’s officially summer in the US, which means many families are planning vacations. Many of those reservations are made online, and just like anything else on the internet, travelers need to be sure that they are safe from scams. A security officer from one of the most popular sites to book vacations detailed the latest dangers for those making plans for the summer and fall. Chief Information Security Officer Marnie Wilking recently attended the Collision Technology Conference in Toronto. She warned that phishing scams are on the rise, thanks to AI. Wilking said every industry has experienced an uptick in scams by up to 900%, and the hospitality industry is now a target. Phishing scams are those where people attempt to fool others into revealing sensitive information, like their financial details or log-ins. She said ChatGPT has made it easier for criminals to “mimic emails far better” than ever before.

Wilking explained that the communications coming to potential travelers or travelers now sound real because of artificial intelligence, and scammers take “advantage of the helpful nature of hospitality.” Unfortunately, guests and even hotel personnel are more likely to open an attachment that exposes them to malware, stealing information directly from their computers.

One other scam to look out for, in particular, is for criminals to “set up a fake property” for a ridiculously low price, but has measures in place to catch those. However, if travelers see a property available for a price well below other similar offerings, it’s best to steer clear.

The Federal Trade Commission warned internet users to be wary of any emails that have a generic greeting, invite the reader to click on a link to update payment information, or state there is a hold on the account because of a billing problem. If you suspect an electronic message is a phishing attempt, contact the company directly using the number from the website and discuss the issue raised in the email.

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