Watch Out For Flight Scammers Online
Setting out on a trip with your loved ones for Zimbabwe and spending your hard-earned money to buy a holiday package is really exciting. But it is susceptible to the devious scammers who can ruin your travel plans with their subtle tricks. According to recent stats, nearly 15 million people have become victimized by the travel scammers whereas 8-10 cases have been specifically reported for booking flights to Zimbabwe. Fraudulent travel agencies suddenly appear with the most discounted holiday packages. Their strategies are so understated that not only naïve even the regular travellers fall a prey to the scams. No matter how smart you are, everyone is fascinated by the economical rates and catchy packages that are cheaper than the regular ones. Including me! No matter how cautious you are, the gambit is way ahead in taking money out of your pockets.
With the mushroom growth of such crooks in the travel industry in 2017, it’s time to confiscate your fallacy that you are smart enough to get ripped off. Sometimes, it happens, when its least expected. While travel scammers are everywhere in the world, do you ever think, why Zimbabweans are being targeted the most? Here I tell you why and how does it work? And what can you do to avoid such scams and make sure not to become off-guard in any way possible?
Here are few scenarios of most common scams that travellers encounter. Spread the word so you and your dear ones never have your defences down while we make sure to have your back to encourage and promote secure travel to Zimbabwe.
Before narrating the personal experiences of such scam, I would want you to get acquainted with a few advertising facts in the UK that run to make sure the protection of travellers.
In order to set up a travel agency in the UK, you are required to be licensed by the ATOL (Air Travelers Organizer’s license). It is the financial protection scheme that is supervised by CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). If an ATOL-protected agency goes bankrupted, travellers have ensured a safe return through this scheme. For more information regarding the policy, visit www.atol.org.uk.
And, tour operators who offer comprehensive holiday packages require joining the associations of ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents). Being a member of ABTA, a code of conduct is implemented and relevant disputes are resolved in the light of stated rules and regulations. For further information, visit www.abta.com.
Having said that, no tour operator is allowed to advertise or promote in any way their offers of flights or holiday packages without being protected by ATOL and ABTA.
How do travel scammers work?
The growing concern for all the no-frills travel agencies in the travel industry is to scrutinize how the Scammers work and how to combat such scams.
- Scammers set up cloned websites to defraud clients. These forged websites do not have a locked padlock symbol in the browser when you attempt to make an online payment. Keeping in mind, a legitimate website’s address begins with https://. Forgery is done through various ways and the most common is copying of the genuine website or by producing a website that is almost similar to another well-famed travel business operator. If there’s an element of suspicion, carry out a vigilant search to detect the deception.
- If the unscrupulous agents succeed in winning your confidence by misleading you through the fake/cloned website and you have made an online booking. Then, the next step is payment options. It is recommended to be apprehensive when the only payment option is cash or bank transfer into an account of an individual. This is the dead right sign that they are not facilitated by the credit card payment options by the reputed banks.
- Consumers are always prone to these fraudsters in million other ways who bait the clients with attractive deals using different tips and tricks. When the smart clients insist on making payments into a company account instead of an account of an individual. Scammers make contact with the highly reputed, legitimate, fully protected and bonded company and after making a booking in the name of someone else, ask the clients to transfer money to their company’s account.
What happens next? Do you think you have made the best move to protect yourself and safely booked a flight/holiday package? Well, be frightened because this is where the actual game starts when scammers have successfully lured and double-crossed two parties into their trick. And you know how? Here’s another side of the story from the end of the legit travel agency.
- The reputed travel agency successfully books a flight ticket for the person who claims to be booking a ticket for relative or a friend ensuring all the travel documents are being provided. At the time of payment, bank transfer into the company account has been made by the concerned client the and irony is, a ticket is being issued in the name of some other person. How would you know you have been caught into the trouble? Before you depart, the forged website has been disappeared, numbers have been closed permanently and you’d find yourself chasing the reputed travel agency that had issued a ticket for someone else against your payment.
How can you evade the scammers?
Knowing that such scammers are hard at work, it is recommended to be extra cautious while dealing the retailers and not to be trapped by the fly-by-night crooks.
- If you are not really into understanding the technicalities of the websites, contact a few different agents and leave a query for your travel plans. Instead of being lured to extraordinary cheap flights tickets, be doubtful about the rates below the standard. And be inclined towards the well-reputed travel sellers and stick to the trusted service providers instead of being misled by the fake businesses.
- Check website reviews and traffic for the particular service provider and check the track record to make sure you are on secure end. Don’t be turned up by the marvelous cheap deals on different social media platforms.
Well, it’s not that difficult to protect yourself from being victimized. Just beware of above-mentioned precautions and be watchful about the travel scams. Hope you travel safe!