Fraudulent methods of “divorcing” tourists for money do not stand still: the audience of Russian tourists “living in smartphones” has begun to be deceived in a new way. Experts have uncovered new scam schemes for “advanced users” – they are now actively trying to get money out of their pockets through fake applications for selling tours.
The newspaper “Izvestia” presented details from one tourist from Moscow, who in this way almost lost 100 thousand rubles paid for the tour. According to the injured tourist, Daria S. from Moscow, she almost sent the money to the alleged application from the tour operator. As the tourist said, she was picking up a tour to Egypt and considering options. In particular, she downloaded the application of one of the tour operators in the official marketplace of the App Store and found several options there at an attractive price of 90-120 thousand rubles. Moreover, it was possible to pay for the tour online, but the tourist hesitated and decided to go to the office to double-check and study all the offers. This saved her money.
“I was embarrassed that only four addresses were indicated in the contacts, although there are dozens of times more offices of this company in Moscow. In addition, the prices were 10-20 thousand lower than in other places, and the application itself was “buggy”, the filter did not work in it,” the tourist specified. Then she decided to read the reviews on the app, where there were a lot of complaints – tourists wrote that the app was fraudulent, they “fell for the bait” and lost tens and hundreds of thousands of rubles. At the same time, according to the tourist, the fraudulent application was even higher than the original one. Moreover, as the tourist adds, it remained in the marketplace – that is, there may be other victims.
Therefore, the publication cited advice from Ivan Bulychev, an information security consultant at Jet Infosystems, who explained to tourists that they should be alerted in this kind of applications, including tourist ones. “Fraud apps in marketplaces (even official ones) are not uncommon. Therefore, it is important to read all the information about them. Lack or a small number of reviews, low rating, errors in the title, description or screenshots are the first signs that should alert you. In addition, you should pay attention to the developer, namely, to check if there are links to this application on the official website of the company,” he said. According to him, scammers are perfecting the “workarounds” of the store's security checks, so it's best to double-check them “ten times”.
As Anton Yakimov, Deputy General Director of T1 Group for Technological Development, added, more often tourists are “bred” not by official applications, but by those fraudulent sites that tourists find through links in SMS or Telegram. It is better not to follow such links immediately. If you are looking for rest “from a smartphone”, then it is better to use the official app store – and check it, it is better to download those that have a high rating and a lot of reviews – but first it is better to read them and pay attention to negative and obviously custom ones. You also need to pay attention to the permissions that the application requires, if there are too many of them (and not all of them are really needed) or the application requires them too insistently – this is also a reason to be wary. It is also important to pay attention to the “branded” design of the application, and to its name – after downloading it should remain the same as it was in the application store. As all experts warn, “left” applications are most often dangerous because fraudsters can gain access to accounts or payment instruments, as well as to the tourist's personal data. So in any case, it is useful not to give applications unnecessary permissions for their work and delete everything that the tourist no longer uses.
As for tourism, here the experts of the tourism industry strongly recommended using the official websites of tour operators, also subjecting them to verification , proven aggregators, as well as offline in a travel agency – but it is also desirable to choose a proven and reliable one. Experts recommend checking all the documents of the agency and requesting a receipt for the purchase of the tour.
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