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How to avoid online travel scams – NBC 6 South Florida

Consumer investigator Sasha Jones roams the streets of South Florida to find out the questions you’re burning for answers to.

In our Consumer Corner series, NBC6 Responds poses questions about your finances to experts.

Each week we’ll feature a different consumer question.

a question: “How can I avoid scams while booking summer travel?”

expert: Leila Bilge, Director of Fraud Research Labs at Gen Digital

Answer:

When searching for the cheapest flight, hotel, or short-term rental for an upcoming trip, it’s important to be careful.

Travel scams typically spike during busy travel seasons.

“So we have to try to understand before we book. What is the normal average price of the place you are going to. Scammers will target that,” said Leila Bilge of Gen Digital.

Bilge is a scam expert and says the first step to avoiding scams is to research your destination and the cost of the trip.

This will help you recognize deals that are too good to be true.

Next, try booking directly on the booking platform, she says. This will ensure that you get the extra protection offered.

“The second thing is that you should never book things outside of a booking platform. When you’re trying to book something on Airbnb, you shouldn’t start talking to someone who’s going to say, ‘I’ll give you a better deal if you’ll send me the money directly.’ “It may seem better to you, you may not have to pay Airbnb fees, but the likelihood of you getting scammed is really high,” Billig said.

Finally, be on the lookout for what is known as an imposter scam.

It can start when someone calls on the phone and impersonates someone who works for the airline or hotel. Scammers are often looking for your personal information.

“This has become really key, because a lot of scammers and attackers who are actually impersonating well-known brands, you’ll think you’re getting travel insurance from someone you actually know, but they’re actually impersonating you,” Bilge said. “Sometimes when you book travel through… “On your mobile phone, it’s very difficult to know where you’re going, so you have to be really sure.”

Remember, scammers will usually try to pressure you into making a quick decision or ask you to send money through bank transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency.

These are usually signs that something is not right.

If you believe you have been the target of a travel scam, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission.

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