Tourism companies now make online transactions, bookings, and pre-boarding ID verification. Therefore, fraudsters find it an attractive target to carry out travel frauds. Tourism companies must integrate an efficient identity verification system to prevent travel scams.
The tourism and hospitality sector is now working properly since the COVID-19 pandemic. This industry has high-value payments and services, whilst fraudsters are always trying to breach them. It also plays an essential role in the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and saw a boost of up to 6.1 percent last year.
Fraud Risks in the Travel Sector
Fraudsters bypass identity checks through multiple practices like document frauds, account takeovers, and payments with a stolen debit or credit card. Organisations encounter a lot of travel scams that affect their credibility in the market and lower the trust level of customers.
Fake Travel Agencies Fraud
Fraudsters exploit travellers using fake online travel agencies to achieve their evil goals. There have been many cases when customers or travellers have been sold bogus airline tickets and hotel rooms that don’t exist. It also involves the creation of fake websites that look and feel like authentic ones. These sites help to get customers’ information by doing fake and unauthorised document verification. When customers find out that they have been scammed, compensation cannot be made.
Stolen Debit/Credit Card Fraud
Travel scams are happening in numerous ways, such as making purchases of tour packages and hotels using stolen debit/credit cards. Fraudsters try to access these cards by getting the information directly from the customer or simply buying it from the dark web. This is where know your customer authentication comes in handy by ensuring that the actual customer or cardholder is trying to make a purchase.
These payments are usually made at the last minute when the cross-verification process is not possible by travel agencies and other service providers. So, to deter travel scams, AI and machine learning-based IDV systems must be integrated to check the presence of real-time travellers, liveness detection, and facial verification. This system will help lower the chances of fraud without any human error.
In many cases, travel agents willingly provide the customer’s information to fraudsters. It is a quick or short technique to make money. These stolen credit/debit cards or payment information is used to make fraudulent purchases and bookings. In the end, the legit customer won’t be able to find the travel agent which causes trust issues.
How can Frauds in Travel Industry be countered?
It is not easy to find travel scams as fraudsters create fake and illegal documents through software like Adobe Photoshop. Furthermore, these crooks manipulate the organisation’s funds by travelling in economy class and buying game tickets or bar passes using the money. In the process of identifying travel scams, expense manipulation is the most difficult.
Incorporating AI-powered document verification solutions can be very helpful for organisations. Moreover, it can prevent and save their money from misuse. Advanced technology can validate bills to monitor and identify travel scams.
What Should Travelers Do to Avoid Scams?
Travellers should be aware of the industry’s loopholes and vigilant while purchasing tickets or planning to travel. Tourists can opt for these practices:
- A reputable Online Travel Agency (OTA) should be a priority whilst booking tickets
- Travellers should use the practice of Do Your Own Research (DYOR)
- Check for URLs and make secure payments
- Tourists should be very careful in the second-hand marketplace because of the higher chance of scams in it
- Always decide after reading reviews
Tools to Prevent Travel Scams
There are many preventive measures to discourage travel scams. Some of them are:
- AI and ML-powered systems. These are error-free systems, as there is no human involvement
- Automated identity verification systems
- A capable scam prevention team
These tools help companies to make their reputation and credibility strong. It will also allow these organisations to attract more customers.
The travel industry is very crucial in the modern world. So to maintain its credibility, it should always be a step ahead of fraudsters who can harm them. This would also allow them to provide a better customer experience by having secure and risk-free services.
Integration of machine learning and AI-powered identity verification systems will be extremely beneficial in detecting travel scams and illicit actions. It can also do the verification of documents without any error that a human can make. As mentioned before, the travel industry contributes to the world’s GDP. Therefore, it must be integrated as soon as possible to ensure a risk-free tour.