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Travel and Leisure

Warning raised by AirAsia MOVE vs. travel-related online scams

AirAsia SuperApp

In the wake of the growing number of stories from customers who fell victims to online travel scams, AirAsia MOVE (formerly AirAsia Superapp) reminds the public to be extra careful when making flight and hotel purchases online, especially from dubious online travel agents, citing the data of the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group which showed that the number of travel-related online scams have grown up to 16 times in just two years.

From 51 recorded cases in 2021, the total number of victims has ballooned to 842 in 2023, with nearly half of the victims lost their money to scammers in hopes to purchase discounted flights and accommodation.

Based on PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group’s records, at least P13.2 million was lost in 2023 alone to travel-related online scams.

The PNP classifies travel scams into two categories. First is the “fakebooking” wherein scammers steal a traveler’s personal information. The other classification covers those who lost their money to scammers or illegitimate online travel agents. In many cases, victims were asked to send a downpayment or even a full payment to avail of a fake discount, only to discover later that they have been scammed.

Lt. Col. Jay Guillermo, PNP-ACG Spokesperson, advises the public and travelers: “They must go to a legitimate site. It can be a legitimate page, or application para, at least, malaman natin if there is something (suspicious) in their communication. Malalaman natin kung sino ang nanloloko kasi nga if they order on these websites, applications or page na legitimate, they can monitor whatever transaction they’ve done online. Ibig sabihin, meron kang security because these are legitimate and these are regulated, so secured ang transaction mo. (Translation: They must go to a legitimate site. It can be a legitimate page or application (app), so at least, we can determine if there is something suspicious in their communication. We shall know who is at fault because we will be able to monitor the transaction when they use legitimate applications or websites. This means, they have security because these are legitimate and these are regulated, so their transactions are secured.)”

Rowena Rivera, AirAsia MOVE (formerly AirAsia Superapp) Head of Travel – Philippines said: “With the growing popularity of online travel bookings and the increasing sophistication of fraudsters, we urge travelers to use only legitimate bookings apps like AirAsia Superapp. We advise them to avoid unverified groups and pages offering discounts on flights and hotels. Travel has to be fun and memorable, and not stressful. We want to help avoid scams to protect every traveler. The only way to avoid scams is to ensure that they only make purchases through legitimate booking apps like AirAsia Superapp which is secure and credible. AirAsia Superapp observes the highest standards in handling data, safety and security. It uses data encryption to safeguard user’s information. Legitimate platforms like AirAsia Superapp provide clear booking confirmations and transaction details. It even offers discounts every month that app users and subscribers can use to save on their flight and hotel bookings.”

Following are some tips on how to avoid travel scams: Do your research. Read reviews and get recommendations before you book anything. Do not provide any identification document, personal information, financial details and payment until you are sure that you are dealing with a legitimate platform, agency or seller; Be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true. If a price is significantly lower than published rates, then there is a high chance that it is a scam. Looking for a discount? Check the AirAsia Superapp for weekly and monthly deals, offering huge discounts on hotels and accommodations; Beware of red flags. Check for grammatical errors, typographical mistakes or awkward phrasing in posts or messages; Book directly through a downloadable travel app: The safest way to avoid scams is to always book your flights and accommodations directly through the AirAsia Superapp platform. The app is available on iOS and Android phones. This way, you can be sure you’re dealing with a legitimate source and your personal information is protected. Avoid booking through unknown or unlicensed companies and social media groups.

To make sure that you have the right platform, just go to App Store (for iOS or Apple users), Google Play (for Android users), or AppGallery (for Huawei users), then search for “AirAsia Superapp” and hit the download button as it appears among your top searches. Stay away from scammers, instead keep yourself updated on the latest promos and discounts by following @airasiasuperapp.ph on Instagram,” AirAsia said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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