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Blog > Internet Scams > How to Spot and Avoid Travel Scams
 June 27, 2024

How to Spot and Avoid Travel Scams

Traveling woman in an airport wearing a backpack and looking at her cell phone to avoid a travel scam.

Originally published March 3, 2021. Blog post updated for accuracy, comprehensiveness and freshness on June 27, 2024.

As travel season peaks, fraudsters ramp up their efforts to deceive unsuspecting travelers. Being informed, proactive, and vigilant are ways to protect you and your family’s vacation travel. Here are key travel scams to watch out for:

1. Peer-to-Peer (P2P) rental scams

Woman upset about a travel scam while sitting in a chair holding her phone and credit card.With the rising popularity of P2P rental sites, travelers often prefer renting apartments or houses directly from owners instead of booking hotels or resorts. However, criminals may exploit these services. To help protect yourself:

  • Verify website terms: Understand the guarantees or refunds offered by the website. Check their fraud protection policies.
  • Avoid external transactions: Scammers may lure you with deals outside the website’s platform. Stick to the site’s payment methods to benefit from its safeguards.
  • Use secure payment methods: When available, pay by credit or debit card on trusted sites. Avoid cash, money orders, or wire transfers, which offer little or no protection, making recovery nearly impossible.

2. Timeshare scams

Timeshare resale scams involve someone posing as a buyer who offers you a lucrative deal for your timeshare, but pressures you to pay upfront expenses. To stay safe:

  • Be skeptical of unsolicited offers from someone claiming to be interested in buying your timeshare who promises a profitable sale. Such offers may appear out of the blue, arriving in your email, residential mailbox, or through a phone call. A request for you to pay money upfront along with the nature of the unsolicited offer, should raise red flags.
  • Avoid Upfront Payments: Do not pay any expenses via wire transfer or money order.
  • Use this resource if you’re considering a timeshare purchase.

3. Front desk call scams

A common hotel scam involves a call to your room from someone pretending to be from the front desk. They claim there’s an issue with your credit card and ask for your details. To avoid this:

  • Verify in person: If you receive such a call, visit the front desk in person. Do not give out your credit card information over the phone.

Upset woman in an airport experiencing a travel scam4. Stranded traveler scams

Scammers often pose as stranded travelers or distant relatives in distress, requesting money. These scams frequently target the elderly. To protect yourself and your loved ones:

  • Be skeptical of urgent financial requests: Contact the person directly through a known phone number to confirm their situation.
  • Inform elderly family members: Make sure elderly relatives are aware of these scams.

5. Wi-Fi hotspot hackers

Public Wi-Fi hotspots in airports, hotels, and other high-traffic areas can be risky. Scammers may set up fake networks to steal your information or install malicious software. To protect your data:

  • Join trusted networks: Confirm the network name with staff before connecting.
  • Avoid sharing sensitive information: Do not enter credit card details or passwords on public networks.

6. AI-powered travel scams

According to online travel company,, travel scams involving Artificial Intelligence (AI) have increased by 900%. AI can:

  • Mimic human interaction: AI-powered chatbots can engage with potential victims, providing seemingly legitimate responses and making the scam appear more credible.
  • Generate fake reviews and listings: AI can create convincing fake reviews and rental listings, tricking travelers into booking non-existent properties.
  • Phish for Information: AI can personalize phishing attacks by analyzing social media profiles and other public data, making the scam more tailored and harder to detect.

To protect yourself from AI-powered scams:

  • Verify authenticity: Double-check the legitimacy of reviews and listings by cross-referencing multiple sources.
  • Be cautious with personal information: Avoid sharing too much personal information online, which can be used by AI to target you.

How IDShield can help

Sad woman on an airport shuttle bus experiencing a travel scam.Travel scams are increasingly sophisticated; they’re closely linked to identity theft because scammers often use travel-related schemes to steal personal information. For example, travelers may use public Wi-Fi or open phishing emails that appear to be from legitimate travel companies.

Scammers can exploit these vulnerabilities to obtain social security numbers and other sensitive personal data. Once they have this info, they can commit identity theft and cause substantial financial losses.

We provide tools to monitor your online presence and alert you of unusual activity so you can take action when it’s detected. If you’ve already fallen victim to identity theft, IDShield can alert you to suspicious activity on your accounts.

We offer many services to protect you, including:

  • Full-service identity restoration
  • Cybersecurity protection
  • Identity monitoring
  • Credit score tracking
  • Licensed Private Investigators to work on your case if identity theft does occur
  • Up to $3 million Identity Fraud Protection Plan for certain fraud expenses and legal costs as a result of a covered identity fraud event.

Take the next step


Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to identity theft services through membership-based participation. IDShield is a product of PPLSI. All Licensed Private Investigators are licensed in the state of Oklahoma. The information made available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide professional advice, render an opinion, or provide a recommendation as to a specific matter. The blog post is not a substitute for competent and professional advice. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be third-party paid contributors. All information by authors is accepted in good faith; however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.


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