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Summer Travel Fraud: Don’t Get Burned

posted on: Tue Jul 12 2016

summer-travel-fraud.jpgSunglasses? Check. Flip-flops? Check. Real-time fraud prevention technology? Not quite.

The summer vacation season is upon us and cyber security is likely to be the last thing on thousands of holidaymakers’ minds as they jet off to sunnier climes. Those in the travel industry, however, may be left red faced despite slathering on the sun block if they fail to secure themselves from fraud this summer.

The travel industry is a red-hot destination for cyber criminals. In fact, the figures are just as nauseating as a heavy bout of in-flight turbulence: Money lost to travel fraudsters soared in 2015, rising 425% and leapt from £2.2m in 2014 to a record-high £11.5m last year.

Many consumers will feel that they’ve been ‘scammed’ by legitimate travel booking companies at one point or another: The room wasn’t as nice as it appeared in the brochure, the pool wasn’t cleaned as often as promised, and there was definitely a cockroach under the bed.

In truth, though, consumers and merchants are both targets when it comes to travel fraud, and both have a responsibility to fight it. The question, then, is this: How can we ground the bad guys when they seem to be in full flight?

A 2013 study showed that one in ten consumers failed to carry out any research whatsoever when booking holidays online. With escalating costs of travel fraud and an increasing number of fraudulent travel company websites, travel buyers need to be vigilant when purchasing flights and accommodation. If the site looks cheap or hastily put together, or is offering prices way below the average rate, that is the cue to ask questions and look for reviews online.

What about travel merchants? At Kount, we’ve already shown how airline and hotel chain loyalty programmes can be compromised to ruin both yours and your customers’ holidays before they’ve even left the country.

What’s more, with a spate of data breaches including major holiday firm Thomson and, most recently, JTB in Japan, we provided advice on what merchants can do to protect themselves from a spike in fraud after the breach.

That being said, securing your mobile channel well may be the key to a stress-free summer, especially with mobile transactions for hotels, flights and rental cars 14% higher in June, July and August than during the rest of the year.

Mobile is twice as likely to involve fraud, yet our latest Mobile Payments & Fraud Survey showed that merchants are still complacent when it comes to mobile fraud. Over 40% admitted that they were unaware of their total share of fraud coming from the mobile channel, whilst only 16% stated “Addressing how to manage fraud risk” as their top mobile channel concern for 2016.

Travel merchants needn’t just take our word for it. One airline working with Kount saw mobile account for 18-20% of their bookings, a figure that was growing fast. After approaching Kount for our specialist knowledge of the specific tools required to fight mCommerce fraud, their sales increased from 72% to 84% without seeing an increase in chargebacks or fraud.

Go all-inclusive this summer: Protect yourself and your customers by implementing an all-in-one fraud prevention solution from Kount.

Mobile Payments & Fraud: 2016 Report

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