March 13, 2018
With Spring Break in full swing, college students from across the U.S. are planning trips to warmer climes, but with the added traffic, online travel companies should be aware they are at increased risk of fraud during the first weeks of March. Last year for the OTA industry, fraud rates rose 15 percent at this time compared to the three preceding months, according to antifraud technology provider Forter. And, this year, the company expects at least the same, with account takeover fraud being a main driver.
“It is imperative that businesses and their fraud-prevention partners look out for things like unusual account-level activities that may indicate fraud,” said Michael Reitblat, co-founder and CEO of Forter. “They should be wary of peak seasons, spring break travel dates for instance, when purchase volumes increase and online criminals exploit these opportunities to easily hide among the throng of legitimate customers. Other important factors in combatting fraud include instant decisions at every stage of the consumer lifecycle (including coupon abuse, account takeover, and checkout), which ensures that the customer experience is frictionless and fraud-free. To do this effectively, merchants, along with the help of their fraud-prevention partners, must be able to handle bookings at scale, facilitating the combination of high traffic volumes and speed.”
Another trend Forter spotted last year should serve as a warning to online travel companies during the Spring Break peak season to keep an eye on Mexico. More than half of fraud attempts targeted flights entirely within Mexico (41 percent) or U.S.-Mexico/U.S.-Bahamas (12 percent). Domestic flights within the U.S. were another major target for fraudsters (38 percent of travel fraud attempts). Of those U.S. flights, nearly 8 out of 10 targeted itineraries that started or ended in Florida or California.