Almost a third of Singaporeans surveyed in a recent McAfee study indicated they have been scammed, or nearly scammed, when booking a holiday online.
Polling 500 Singaporeans, the American cyber security firm found that the top holiday destinations which hackers are targeting through malicious sites are, in order, Taipei, London, Bali, Tokyo and Kyoto.
Some 23 per cent of respondent who have been scammed said they realised the site or reservation method they used was fraudulent only when they turned up at their holiday rental.
How scammers target travellers
Bargain hunters are most at risk, according to the study, which found 34 per cent of the victims were scammed after they saw a great offer which turned out to be fake.
Around 30 per cent of respondents booked holidays through email promotions and pop-up advertisements.
Moreover, 23 per cent of respondents indicated they do not check the authenticity of a website before booking a holiday online, while 33 per cent said it did not cross their mind to check.
McAfee said cybercriminals drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware, steal personal information and even capture passwords.
In addition to planting malware-ridden search results, hackers send malicious links through text messages, emails and pop-up advertisements to lure bargain hunters.
McAfee advised users to click on websites that have been authorised as safe by the security software in their devices.
Travel searchers should also use trusted platforms and be mindful to not be easily lured by advertisements of discounted rates.
They may also ensure the device’s connection is secure by using a virtual private network when conducting transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection.