Two Travel Visa Scams


Thinking of taking the family to Disneyland these holidays? Looking to trade the Aussie summer heat for the slopes of a Canadian winter? Planning for trips like these can be fun, but keep a look out when you get to the visa application stage of your preparations for scammers out to make a quick buck (or worse).

It wasn’t long after the US announced their Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) program in 2009, that scam sites started to appear in search results. These sites look and feel like the official thing, but are really just there to upsell you services you probably don’t need. 

Worse still, many of them collect highly sensitive personal information such as passport numbers so they can ‘act on your behalf’. The sites also often do this insecurely and in some instances have been known to sell this data to criminals for use in identity theft.

Here are some tips to help you and your staff stay safe while planning your holidays

  1. Make sure you follow the exit/entry advice from when planning your trip.
  2. Always use official government websites (e.g. for the US) to apply for online travel visas. Typically these will have .gov in the address.
  3. Make doubly sure you know who you’re sharing sensitive data such as passport numbers with, and look for ‘https://’ and the padlock in your web browser.

Did you find this useful? You'll find more advice like this in our Small Business Cyber Security Pathways.


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