How You Can Find Out If A Travel Website Is Real
As the travel industry got back to normal after the pandemic years, people started to move around again. As the numbers now seem to be even bigger than before, given the three-year break, travel scams are rampant these days. Let’s see how to detect fake travel sites (selling deals or visas) and expose some scams.
Travel visas are an essential aspect of traveling to another country. Unfortunately, there are many entry visa scams that travelers need to be aware of. Hot destination countries like Thailand, India, Tanzania or Vietnam still require specific applications to be filled out correctly. However, many people are not tech-savvy and are unsure if their actions are proper. Therefore, here come the crooks.
The most common travel visa scams include:
1. Fake Visa Agencies
These agencies may claim to offer visa services, but they may not be legitimate, let alone affiliated with the government – as some claim. They may charge additional fees and provide false info. They also take your personal information and use it for nefarious purposes.
2. Express Visa Scams
Some platforms may promise to expedite your visa application, but they may not have special connections with the government. Keep reading below to see how you can determine if a travel website or agency is fake.
3. Phishing Scams
These scams may be in the form of emails or travel websites that claim to be from government agencies, such as TSA PreCheck. They ask for personal information or payment in order to proceed with your travel request.
4. Advance Fee Scams
These scams may ask you to pay a processing fee in advance. And that’s not even for your ticket or visa. Then, they disappear with your money.
Luckily, we have some good news.
How To Detect A Fake Travel Site
There are two great ways to avoid all the fake travel sites. Let’s show you how to easily detect and block them at the same time.
1. There is a powerful tool that notifies you if a website is real or not. You should safely install a browser extension called Guardio HERE (we tested it, it works and is worth every penny). It automatically blocks 100x more harmful websites than competitors and 10x more malicious downloads than any other security tool. That includes fake travel websites, too. Very effective.
2. If you feel a website might be suspicious, feel free to verify it using our unique Scam Detector website validator below:
6 Tips To Avoid Travel Scams
Here are some tips to help you avoid travel visa scams and obtain a visa safely for various countries.
- Check the official government website: Before applying for a visa, you must check the official government website of the country you plan to visit. This will give you accurate information on visa requirements, fees, and processing times.
- Beware of third-party websites: Many third-party websites claim to offer visa services, but they may not be affiliated with the government. These websites may charge additional fees and provide false information, so it is best to avoid them and apply directly through the official government website.
- Don’t pay in advance: Some scams may ask you to pay a processing fee in advance and then disappear with your money. It is crucial to avoid paying in advance and only pay the visa fee after you have received your visa.
- Be cautious of emails: Be careful of emails that claim to be from government agencies and ask for personal information or payment. These emails may be phishing scams and should be reported to the relevant authorities.
- Use secure payment methods: When making a payment for a visa, it is vital to use a secure payment method, such as a credit card or a secure online payment platform.
- Don’t trust all visa agencies: Some visa agencies may promise to expedite your visa application, but they may not have any special connections with the government. Applying for a visa directly through the official government website is best. Make sure to educate yourself and use only legitimate services like iVisa.
By following these tips, you can avoid travel visa scams and obtain a visa safely for various countries. However, if you suspect you have been a scam victim, it is important to report it to the relevant authorities. See below how.
Obtaining a travel visa can be a complex process, but it is essential to follow the official procedures to avoid scams. Always check the official government website, be cautious of third-party websites, and use secure payment methods to ensure a safe and smooth visa application process.
How To Report a Travel Agency
Let your close family and online friends know about how to see if a travel website is fake. Feel free to share this page if it was helpful. Meanwhile, you can report scammers and any other suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using the portal below:
How To Protect Yourself More
If you want to receive notifications about the most notorious scams every week, subscribe to our Scam Detector newsletter. You will receive periodic emails from us with insightful tips. That will include how to prevent fraud and information about the newest tools you can use to fight crime.
Meanwhile, feel free to educate yourself with some other travel fraud-related articles. They are listed under this paragraph, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, if you have any bad experiences, make sure to use the comments section below to expose other scammers.
How To Spot Is A Site Is Safe To use
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Are you just about to make a purchase online? See if the website is legit with our validator: