Here we will go over the six most common business travel scams and how to avoid them.
In 2021, 29 billion dollars were stolen by scammers in America alone because of how convincing these scams are.
The following business travel scams are unknown by most and hard to recognize, so keep reading to learn what to watch out for and how to avoid becoming a target.
- Bait and switch
The bait and switch scam is a common one that can be easily avoided.
If you are searching for hotels and come across one that is cheap, has beautiful photos on the website, and seems too good to be true, it most likely is. Unfortunately, booking these perfect, cheap rooms may result in disappointment because the rooms are dirty, run-down, and not as pictured upon arrival.
Avoid the bait and switch scam by reading reviews and viewing guest photos.
- Fake travel agents
Businesses often hire a travel agent to save time and money; however, anyone planning a trip should beware of the fake travel agent scam. Scammers will pose as travel agents or a large company and request payment for services without the intention of doing the work.
Unfortunately, this scam is hard to recognize because scammers can create a look-alike website of a popular travel agency.
This scam can be avoided by confirming the page’s URL link, logo, business name, and reviews. False travel agent pages will often have logos that are blurry or slightly different from the actual company, and the business name may be somewhat different as well. When reading reviews, see how far back they date and whether or not the business has been accused of being a scam.
- Fake hotels
Similar to the fake travel agency scam, fake hotel bookings are a common scam that can be hard to recognize.
Like the travel agency scam, a scammer will create a website that’s almost indistinguishable from a well-known hotel website. However, instead of paying for services, an individual is scammed by booking hotel rooms that do not exist.
This scam can be avoided by reading reviews from a trusted source, calling the company directly, and checking the URL link.
Fake hotel sites can be convincing and tricky to spot; here, you can learn more about avoiding fraud while booking.
- Counterfeit event tickets
Events such as seminars, trade shows, and exhibitions often sell out fairly quickly, allowing scammers to jump in and offer counterfeits.
Counterfeit tickets are typically found on the street, on unfamiliar websites, or in marketplaces like craigslist.
Fake tickets often look exactly like an actual ticket, and the scammer may provide a tangible ticket as confirmation of legitimacy.
A person can avoid purchasing counterfeit tickets by buying directly from the event’s box office or a verified distributor such as Stub Hub or Ticketmaster.
- Currency exchange
It is not uncommon for businesses to travel to another country to discuss deals and attend meetings or events. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of cross-country travelers when they forget that their currency may not be accepted upon arrival.
Scammers go to high tourist areas like shopping centers, airports, or train stations and act as if they are leaving the country and forgot to exchange their currency. Also, scammers may pose as helpful citizens and offer to exchange money when a tourist is in need.
When the currency is exchanged, the scammer will short-change the individual and walk away, having stolen a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
This scam can be avoided by exchanging currency at a bank, familiarizing yourself with the foreign currency values, withdrawing cash from ATMs, and using credit cards when possible.
- You won a free trip!
Despite the enthusiastic calls and emails that some people receive, the chances are that they did not win a free trip. Unfortunately, many scammers have started contacting individuals claiming that they have won a trip, travel tickets, hotel stays, or event tickets as a way to steal the person’s identity or money.
These “free trip” scammers can steal people’s personal information by asking for their full name, address, and identification numbers. If an individual unknowingly provides their information, their identity can be stolen, and they will soon find out that the trip did not exist.
Businesses are common targets for this scam because many personal details are already public. Additionally, it can be believable that a business has won a free trip to a conference or because another business is impressed and would like to discuss expansion opportunities.
These scams can be avoided by researching the caller and withholding personal information.
To avoid being scammed while planning a business trip, it is best to research the legitimacy of all purchases and avoid providing personal information to unverified sources.