Hello, summer. Hello, scammers?
According to the travel site, The Vacationer, nearly 85% of Americans are planning at least one trip this summer. Scammers are hoping to hitch a ride.
"We ran a scan of the internet for a few brands that are related to summer fashion, and we found an increase in websites that are scams impersonating the brands or sending counterfeits. We've also seen an increase in travel scams around airlines or known hotel chains," said Yoav Keren.
He's the CEO of BrandShield, a cybersecurity company that detects phishing threats, impersonator websites, and counterfeit sales so they can be removed.
If you're shopping online to update your vacation wardrobe or even book a trip, one wrong click could lead to major problems for consumers.
"Scammers or the cyber criminals will get their financial information, their credentials, sometimes they'll infiltrate their computers or their networks," Keren warns.
Crooks are trying to capitalize on the summer travel season.
BrandShield found imposter websites posing as the popular brands Billabong and Speedo. They also found imposters of major airlines including Jet Blue, Delta, and American.
Imposter websites are becoming more and more convincing as scammers copy the legitimate brand's imaging, even content and verbiage.
How can you tell what's real and what's not?
- Look at the domain name. Is it spelled correctly? Do the words match how the brand typically refers to itself?
- Does the website begin with 'https' to indicate it's secure?
- Is there a lock icon in the search bar? You can click the lock icon to see where or who the website certificate is issued to. If it seems suspicious, don't use the website.
- Always access a company's website directly. Do not rely on links sent to you through email or messaging.
- Slow down. Consider if something is too good to be true.
If you think you've been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible. You can also report fake websites to Google for review.