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An Orbitz.com survey says something like 90 percent of Americans plan to travel. And how will Americans make their plans? Online.
“Consumers aren’t walking into travel or ticket agents’ offices to make their summer plans anymore – they’re sacrificing security for convenience and taking their business online instead,” said Andreas Baumhof, chief technology officer, ThreatMetrix. “Necessary precautions must be taken to protect themselves from the increased risk of using digital channels for purchasing tickets and booking reservations. Between payment fraud, identity spoofing, fraudulent tickets and malware, there are significant risks consumers aren’t considering when planning summer fun.”
It’s estimated that 3.7 million people are expected to go to Brazil for the 2014 World Soccer Championship which takes place in July. While soccer may not be as popular in the United States as much of the rest of the world, anybody who is planning to go can expect the event to be a magnet for cyberfraud. In fact, going to concerts, music festivals or baseball games, consumers should expect scammers to be out in force.
Following are scams to look out for:
• Malicious links when streaming – For consumers who won’t be able to attend major events this summer and choose to stream online, ThreatMetrix recommends only streaming from official event websites. In 2010, spectators streamed more than 26.7 million hours of the World Soccer Championship online. That number is likely to increase this year. While it may be tempting to stream from seemingly faster or non-official sites, streaming from one is often just asking to get infected by malware.
• Fraudulent apps – At many big events, associated apps with stats about players, schedules, etc are often available. Attendees should only download authentic, official event apps from an app store. Downloading fraudulent apps can expose mobile devices to malware and offer cybercriminals easy access to personal information stored on devices.
• Ticketing scams – Each year nearly five million people purchase event tickets (concerts, sporting events, theme parks, etc.) that turn out to be fraudulent. Avoid buying tickets from untrusted third parties, classified ad sites or scalpers. Stick to purchasing tickets from official event websites or approved resellers.
• Search Engine Poisoning – When searching for event information, be wary of clicking on random links to third-party websites.
• Public Wi-Fi –Accessing sensitive information online at major events, there’s a chance public Wi-Fi could be compromised. For spectators attending the World Soccer Championship, shared event Wi-Fi networks will likely be hosting hundreds of thousands of devices. Use caution and avoid activities such as online banking and accessing other sensitive information.
“The risks posed by major events like the 2014 World Soccer Championship are something every attendee and at-home viewer needs to be aware of,” said Baumhof. “With millions of people expected to travel to Brazil for the championship, and such a high number of consumers expected to travel in general this summer, consumers should also be aware of the many risks associated with all aspects of vacation spending – from airfare to souvenir purchases.”
Here are some things travelers should bear in mind for steering clear of cyberscammers:
• Unrealistic airfare or hotel deals – If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Travelers should be on the lookout for deals touting things like, “stay one night, stay the rest of the week free!”
• Nonexistent vacation rentals – As third-party vacation rentals shift more into the norm for travelers, consumers should be extra wary of who might be on the other end of those sites. In many cases, cybercriminals set up fraudulent online travel sites or deals to con travelers into booking nonexistent rentals or double booking. Consumers should take extra precautions when using vacation home swapping websites, which are a prime target for cybercriminals.
• Credit card skimming – When traveling to new destinations and making purchases at shops you might not generally do business with, consumers should be aware of the risks of credit card skimming. Savvy cybercriminals can compromise point-of-sale systems and steal credit card information from unknowing tourists purchasing souvenirs or other items.
Vacation and ticketing businesses must also work to protect customers by differentiating between good and bad actors across all online transactions. Leveraging a global trusted identity network such as the ThreatMetrix® Global Trust Intelligence Network, businesses have access to real-time intelligence. This enables consistent risk assessments of data and creates a digital persona of users by mapping their online behaviors and devices to effectively differentiate between authentic and fraudulent online activities.