The trials of the travel industry are as deep as human history. People used to travel for trade and religious purposes in old times. As time passes, people start traveling for fun or leisure. They want to explore new destinations, experience different cultures and enhance their knowledge about the world.
The travel industry has evolved over the years, the conveyances have transformed heavily. From planes to bullet trains, all the ways of traveling are more fast and comfortable. The travel industry has also opened doors for new businesses. Like travel websites and travel agents are recent additions to the travel industry. According to a report, the travel industry generated 8.8 trillion US dollars and 319 million jobs in 2018.
Technological advancements have digitized travel businesses. Now people have no time to wait for the cab at the road corner, they just order one from the mobile app. The cab driver knocks on the customer’s door in no time. There are also eases of fare calculators and payments through digital wallets in online cab services. 82 percent of all travel bookings are made online in 2018.
Tourists do not have to wait long in the ques to book a bus ticket or go into an airline office for booking a plane seat. They can do it by using ticket-selling websites and using a card payment method. By doing so people save their time and resources, also businesses can have more customer engagement. But this digitization also poses the risk of travel frauds.
Fake Travel Websites
This is the most common travel fraud, fake travel sites are developed to scam people. These websites often offer huge discounts to attract more customers. This is also done on social media platforms, where customers are looking for low-priced tickets. These fake websites pretending to be partners of some travel businesses. Usually, they sell tickets over digital payments, where the customer has to pay at the time of purchase. The customer is allotted a seat and flight number. But at the time of arrival, he gets to know that there is no booking in his name.
The same is done with hotel accommodations where tourists are scammed through fake hotel bookings. As the travel business is not involved in this, but it loses its reputation if the number of fake bookings increases in their hotels.
Last Minute Booking
This travel fraud is done by posing as a legitimate customer. In last-minute booking travel frauds, airline tickets are purchased over stolen credit/debit cards with flights in less than 48 hours. In this, the airline has very little time to investigate the details of the payment. When the person has checked-in, the ticket can’t be canceled.
The real owner of the card bears the loss in this case and the card provider can be sued by the card owner for not protecting his payments.
Refund Travel Frauds
This travel fraud is also done by stolen card details. The card data is accessed by hacking or other social engineering tactics. Fraudsters purchase hotel tickets on stolen credentials, cancel them and refund the amount to their accounts. Some sell the tickets to other customers at low prices.
The Solution – Identity Verification
Financial institutions are using Know Your Customer verification to combat frauds and money laundering. In KYC, customers’ identities are confirmed through id documents. This method can also be adopted by travel businesses. When a customer purchases a ticket, his identity should be verified before confirming the booking.
KYC is an online verification procedure performed by artificially intelligent software. The remote verification method will not slow the checkout process, it gives the verification results in seconds.
Below is the procedure of online identity verification:
Customer Gives his Data
In this step, the customer gives his personal and financial information to the travel website. It depends on the business what type of information it requires but name and address are essential.
ID Documents Uploading
Government-approved id document’s image is uploaded to the website along with a live selfie. In some cases, a selfie of the customer holding an id document is required.
The required data is retrieved from the documents and is confirmed with the previously given information. Facial recognition is performed on the selfie and image on the document.
Travel frauds can lag the growth of the travel industry as travelers will lose trust in these businesses. Online identity verification can safeguard the travel sector from fraud and other crimes. Businesses using KYC services are more likely to have a better market reputation and positive customer experience.