In an effort to save money while booking travel, 51 per cent of Indian adults have fallen victim to an online scam, according to a report by McAfee.

Data from the report states that Indian adults are more likely to seek out a bargain deal online (54 per cent), move quickly to snap up a deal (50 per cent), try a new booking site (44 per cent), and even a new destination (47 per cent), in order to save money.

Travel scams

This year, it is estimated that 93 per cent of Indians will book travel online, 66 per cent of all Indian vacationers will travel domestically this year, and 42 per cent will do so internationally.

Additionally, the report shows that globally, 61 per cent of Indian travellers are most concerned about their devices being compromised while travelling, with about 77 per cent of those who had money stolen losing up to $1,000 ( ₹83,000) before their trip has even begun.

According to the report as inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, the research reveals new concerns for leisure-seekers who, in their quest for a good deal, may be more likely to fall for a scam.

Travel scams can take many forms, with the research finding that 27 per cent of Indian adults have been tricked into making payments through fraudulent platforms and 36 per cent have had their identities stolen when booking online. Of this portion, 13 per cent entered passport information, and 23 per cent provided other personally identifiable information to a fake website.

Overall, 59 per cent of Indians are estimated to be more concerned about digital threats than physical ones, such as being pickpocketed, and 94 per cent of Indian adults hold either some or high concern about their identity being compromised as part of their travel.

Online safety

A significant number of people have engaged in activities that could put them at increased risk of crime while travelling, such as connecting to insecure Wi-Fi networks (38 per cent), using a free USB charging port at an airport or train station (34 per cent), or leaving their Netflix account logged in after checking out of their accommodation (29 per cent).  

While 46 per cent of people believe that their personal information is less secure when they connect to the internet while on vacation, only 61 per cent of those use services to monitor the safety of their online identity. About 33 per cent of people don’t use a VPN while on vacation. Of those that do, 28 per cent only do so because they want to stream geo-specific content, the report noted.

McAfee Corp., a global player in online protection, published its new ‘Safer Holidays’ Travel Report, which surveyed 7,000 people across seven countries to discover how safe it is to plan and book travel online, and how cautious people are when interacting with digital tools while traveling abroad.