According to the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, the number of travel-related online scams have grown up to 16 times in two years.
Amid the growing number of stories from customers who fell victims to online travel scams, Airasia MOVE (formerly Airasia Superapp) reminds the public to be extra careful when making flight and hotel purchases online, especially from dubious online travel agents.
From 51 recorded cases in 2021, the total number of victims has ballooned to 842 in 2023. Almost half of the victims lost their money to scammers when they purchased discounted flights and accommodation. Based on PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group’s records, at least P13.2 million was lost in 2023 alone to travel-related online scams.
The PNP classifies travel scams into two categories. First is the “fake booking” wherein scammers steal a traveler’s personal information.
The other classification covers those who lost their money to scammers or illegitimate online travel agents. In many cases, victims were asked to send a downpayment or even a full payment to avail of a fake discount, only to discover later that they have been scammed.
Lt. Col. Jay Guillermo, PNP-ACG Spokesperson, advises the public and travelers: “They must go to a legitimate site. We shall know who is at fault because we will be able to monitor the transaction when they use legitimate applications or websites.”
Rowena Rivera, Airasia MOVE Head of Travel-Philippines said, “With the growing popularity of online travel bookings and the increasing sophistication of fraudsters, we urge travelers to use only legitimate bookings apps like airasia Superapp. We advise them to avoid unverified groups and pages offering discounts on flights and hotels. Travel has to be fun and memorable, and not stressful. The only way to avoid scams is to ensure that they only make purchases through legitimate booking apps like Airasia app, which is secure and credible. Legitimate platforms like Airasia provide clear booking confirmations and transaction details. It even offers discounts every month.”
Here are some tips on how to avoid travel scams:
Do your research. Read reviews and get recommendations before you book anything. Do not provide any identification document, personal information, financial details and payment until you are sure that you are dealing with a legitimate platform, agency or seller.
Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true. If a price is significantly lower than published rates, then there is a high chance that it is a scam. Looking for a discount? Check the airasia Superapp for weekly and monthly deals.
Beware of red flags. Check for grammatical errors, typographical mistakes or awkward phrasing in posts or messages.
Book directly through a downloadable travel app: The safest way to avoid scams is to always book your flights and accommodations directly through the Airasiaplatform. The app is available on iOS and Android phones. This way, you can be sure you’re dealing with a legitimate source and your personal information is protected. Avoid booking through unknown or unlicensed companies and social media groups.