Student “art shows,” airport hot dogs with distracting mustard spills, kindly strangers offering help at the train station… Believe it or not, these are just a few of today’s coordinated traveler scams. Has your team encountered any of them?
Probably not. Veteran business travelers are savvier than the average tourist. Most know well enough to watch their pockets and their carry-on luggage. Plus, petty street cons mainly target vacationers, toting cameras and souvenir bags.
But the corporate travel set isn’t exactly immune—especially as crime goes digital.
Here are three of the biggest travel scam categories currently posing a threat to your employees and traveling executives. By keeping these alerts in front of your team, you could prevent loss of property, time, and travel budget.Credit Card Scams and Identity Theft on Business
Do you discourage travelers from in-room dining because of the hefty room service charges? The local restaurant alternatives may be costlier than you think. A recent piece
in the Huffington Post highlights phony restaurant fliers and fake menus that are sometimes tucked under guestroom doors. Scammers field travelers’ meal orders over the phone, taking down payment information, but never showing up with any food.
Another hotel-based scam involves late night phone calls, allegedly from the front desk. Criminals posing as hotel employees try to intercept credit card information by claiming there’s a computer error or billing issue. Besides warning your travelers about scams like these, make an effort to research corporate credit cards with superior liability coverage and/or 24/7 fraud assistance services.Malware, eScams, and Public Internet Connections
At Travizon, we often talk about risk management
going hand-in-hand with corporate travel policy. Standardizing your pre-trip, cyber security measures is a great example. According to the FBI, malicious software infection
is on the uptick among travelers using hotel Internet connections. Victims are presented with a pop-up notification that software updates are necessary. In reality, by clicking on the update, travelers unwittingly install malware, which then compromises your company data.
Fraudulent Wi-Fi hot spots are another concern for travelers using mobile devices at the airport and beyond. Phony hot spot networks often pose under legitimate-sounding names. Once accessed, hackers can intercept personal financials, identify information, and company files.
An easy solution? Mandate software security updates before travelers take company devices out of town. You should also advise employees to turn off file-sharing features while using public networks, and to research public Wi-Fi options before arriving in unfamiliar territory.Business Travel and Taxi Scams
We’re all familiar with “long hauling” cab drivers who take totally circuitous routes from our pickup point to our destination. In the U.S., most business travelers have either the mobile mapping tools or the local rate knowledge to avoid being bilked. But what happens when your travelers are overseas—in a country for the first time, possibly not knowing the language?
In some parts of the world, taking the long way home is the most benign of taxi scams. There are reports
of drivers who pull over (feigning car trouble) to root through traveler luggage and intercept valuables while offering a quick taxi switch. In some countries it may be difficult to identify unlicensed, unregulated drivers, who can pull any number of scams—from spotty meter rates, to lack of change, to trying to discourage and alter your existing hotel reservation.
If your itineraries don’t specify a car service or car rental plan, be sure your travelers are well-versed in local taxi safety. Solo travelers—especially women—should know what to expect in terms of pricing and ground travel time, as well as how best to agree upon fares ahead of time. For certain destinations, you may even want to consider limiting travelers to daytime arrivals—a condition you could program into booking channels.
Stay tuned for more tips on business traveler safety… Meanwhile, tell us about any scams your team has encountered. We’d love to share your insights with our audience!