Online Tourist Traps On The Rise


The month of May has been a busy one for scammers seeking to exploit people’s desire to secure a good travel bargain.

This is according to local cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab. While tracking the activity of malicious spammers and phishers, Kaspersky researchers uncovered multiple operations during the month of May.

Among other things, they found more than 8 000 phishing attacks disguised as offers from popular lodging platforms. They also found several email blasts appearing to come from a legitimate travel brand that signed victims up to paid phone services.

Dream Deals

In the space of just one day (May 21, 2019), the researchers detected seven different e-mail blasts disguised as offers from popular booking platforms for airplane tickets and accommodation.

Three of them appeared to offer free flights in return for completing a short online survey and sharing the link with others.

After three questions, users were asked to enter their phone number, which the fraudsters then used to subscribe the victim to paid mobile services.

Tis The Season for Scamming

Late April and May also proved to be popular for tourist traps with researchers uncovering phishing attacks disguised as popular websites for booking rental accommodation, such as Airbnb. There was a total of 7 917 of these attacks.

Andrey Kostin, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab says late spring and early summer are a popular time for scammers, as they exploit people looking for a bargain or a last-minute holiday booking.

Example of a phishing web page copying an authentic website
Example of a phishing web page copying an authentic website

“Not only are the fraudulent websites and offers increasingly convincing, more people than ever are booking flights and accommodation on a mobile device such as a smartphone, where it can be harder to spot a fake link, for example. These two trends leave travelers vulnerable to attack,” he explains.

“We urge people to use only legitimate websites for booking tickets and accommodation and to make sure they are protected by a security solution with a strong spam and phishing filter that will spot fraudulent approaches before they get to you,” Andrey adds.

Tips to Avoid Falling For Online Tourist Traps

  • If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. So, you’d better avoid it.
  • Carefully look at the address bar before entering any sensitive information such as your login and password. If the URL is misspelled, doesn’t look like the original or uses some special symbols instead of letters don’t enter anything on such sites.
  • Book your stay and tickets only on trusted websites of trusted providers, ideally typing the address of their website manually in the address bar.
  • Don’t click on links coming from unknown sources be it in e-mails, messengers or social networks.



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