Technology’s Active Role in Preventing Travel Industry Scams

The tourism industry accounts for nearly 10.2 percent of the global GDP with travel scams costing it $21 billion yearly. The figure comes to no surprise as a 20% increase is forecasted by the end of 2021 adding a $25 billion more in losses. While it has become effortless to book a ride or destination tour online, tourists need to watch out for emerging scams in the market. In this regard, hotels and airports are now adopting intelligent solutions to combat sophisticated frauds laid out by fraudsters in the travel industry. 

What Kind of Travel Scams Exist?

Everything has its pros and cons, and technology is no exception. With current advances in digital solutions, bad actors have become active by banking on emerging trends. The alarming increase in travel fraud has raised concerns for travel and tourism authorities. Some of the most common travel industry scams are listed below:

Fraud Related to Payments

Payment fraud poses the biggest risk to the travel sector hitting the airline industry with a staggering $858 million annually, according to the International Air Transport Association. Imposter websites operating for fake travel agencies continue to affect hotel businesses. Oftentimes, tourists enter hotels with a fake booking for which the management has to deal with the cost. Fraudsters also claim false chargebacks and claim returns in pursuit of free services, costing hotels a good deal of money in losses. Last but not the least, false credit and debit cards are quite common in the travel industry as well that are used to make fraudulent payments. 

The Constant Threat of Money Laundering 

Money launderers love hotels. Why? Because they are often less aware of Anti Money Laundering and CFT practices. Apart from that, black hotels set up for fraudulent purposes also get a good bang for their buck by deceiving tourists. Fraudsters use synthetically created identities to check in at hotels, book rooms and get away with the ill-gotten money. 

Identity Theft

With the travel industry creating smart solutions for digital transactions, cyber actors are on the move to pursue their ill intentions. Since digital check-ins allow tourists to verify themselves without displaying a travel ID, as in a manual verification, it creates opportunities to fake identities and gain access to legitimate user information for cybercriminals. The personal data later used to gain loyalty points and other benefits leaves the original customer and travel authorities both a victim of travel scams loss. 

How is Technology Help Prevent Travel Scams?

Developments in technology such as AI-powered facial recognition and digital-only solutions for passport checks have revolutionized the travel industry. This technology can help address these two issues:

  • Save the industry from travel scams
  • Create a good reputation for the travel business

Facial Recognition Software

Travel authorities can employ a facial verification software to create tourist profiles during account openings. When this solution is paired with document verification, identity documents like a passport or travel ID could also be used to verify traveler identity. Moreover, facial recognition software installed in touchless kiosks at airports can easily identify legitimate travelers with ease. Hotels can employ the same technology to verify verified tourists before they enter the hotel premises. 

Current Advances Empowering Facial recognition 

Facial recognition systems have seen rapid advancement with artificial intelligence models bringing new innovation to the table. These provide an in-depth analysis of the user’s facial identity which can help take down the existing travel scams. 

Moving to the 3D Space

With intelligent facial recognition solutions based on machine learning, tourist identity can now be put through a 3D depth analysis. The user’s faceprint is mapped in a 3-dimensional space that gives a more detailed insight while assessing possible forgery. 

Detecting Liveness

Liveness detection is one top feature which a robust face detection travel app would have nowadays. By considering how physically present a user is during a facial scan, the travel industry can take down photoshopped and still images used to deceive security systems.   

Assessing Micro-expressions

A comprehensive facial verification tool can assist travel authorities to take down possible instances of identity theft by analyzing minute expressions on the user’s face. These help take down replay attacks which are used to bypass verification checks at airport terminals and hotel check-ins. 

Meta: Travel Scams – Technologies like facial recognition are helping the travel industry combat travel fraud and making the industry a safer place for tourists.


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