McAfee’s ‘Safer Summer Travel Report’ Reveals More than 1 in 4 Brits Affected by Travel Scams

  • Around half (51%) of Brits are gearing up to travel abroad in 2024
  • Over 1 in 4 (29%) have lost £500 or more to a single scam
  • More than 1 in 4 (29%) Brits say the rise of AI and deepfakes has decreased their level of trust in planning and booking holidays

McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, today unveiled its ‘Safer Summer Travel Report,’ which unpacks insights on emerging trends and scam risks in summer travel, and highlights Brits’ growing concerns over increasingly believable, AI-generated online scams, including deepfakes. The global study surveyed 6,000 adults in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

Holiday makers are planning adventures and staying aware

According to the report, around half (51%) of Brits are gearing up to travel abroad in 2024 and are willing to splurge more than in previous years. In fact, over a third (37%) of people plan to spend more on their holidays compared to last year, and they’re willing to make sacrifices to prioritise travel. Specifically, 48% of Brits will cut back their spending on clothes, and 51% will prioritise leisure travel plans over going out for dinner.

However, this enthusiasm for travel comes with growing caution: at a time when 61% of Brits express worries about the proliferation of scams thanks to AI and deepfakes, over a quarter (29%) say their trust in planning and booking holidays has decreased. Further, they’ve noted that the increasing prevalence of AI and deepfakes makes it more difficult to recognise and avoid scams. This trend points to the need for vigilance as cybercrooks use more sophisticated tactics to exploit holidaymakers.

Vonny Gamot, Head of EMEA at McAfee, said: “With the rainy weather showing no sign of stopping, Brits across the country will no doubt be gearing up for well-deserved summer holidays but it’s important to strike a balance between the excitement of planning and the need for vigilance.”

“Cybercriminals are like digital pickpockets, using the summer holiday season to trick unsuspecting Brits with too-good-to-be-true deals. With the rise of AI, these scams have become more realistic and more common which is why we’re urging all holidaymakers to stay vigilant online and think twice before clicking on a link or sharing credit card details. By doing this, you’ll be protecting your privacy and identity, as well as your finances, so all you need to worry about is relaxing.”

Brits frequently encounter scams when booking travel

Brits’ concerns about cyber threats have merit; just over a quarter (26%) surveyed have fallen victim to a travel-related scam, and a significant portion of these victims – over 1 in 4 (29%) – have lost £500 or more to a single scam.

The prevalence of booking-related travel scams varies significantly by age. While around 1 in 4 (26%) Brits surveyed say they’ve fallen victim to a travel scam when booking, 50% of Brits aged 18-29 say the same, along with just 8% of those aged 50-65.

Top 3 most believed scams while booking

Of those who fell victim to a scam while booking a holiday, the three most common types of scams were:

  1. Fraudulent payments after providing credit card or bank details on a fake site (42%)
  2. Clicking on a malicious confirmation link from an unknown source (41%)
  3. Encountering manipulated holiday destination photos (23%)

Top 3 most believed scams while on holiday

Of those who fell victim to a scam while on holiday, the top three most prevalent scams were:

  1. Providing a deposit for an event or excursion, but the provider failed to show up (35%)
  2. Pre-paying for excursions that were vastly different from what was marketed (32%)
  3. Paying a deposit for accommodation, but upon arrival discovering it did not exist (29%)

How to Protect Yourself from Online Summer Travel Scams Before You Travel:

  • Stay Vigilant: Phishing emails and texts are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick holidaymakers into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware onto devices. Be wary of unsolicited messages claiming to be from airlines, hotels, or financial institutions, especially if they ask for personal information or prompt you to click on suspicious links. There are also tools available that can alert you to suspicious links in your text messages before you click.
  • Look Out for Accommodation Scams: Do a reverse image search on the photos used in the property listing and see what comes up. Scammers sometimes use photos of actual properties that are not for rent, as well as AI-generated images. Read the property reviews. Listings with no reviews are a red flag. In addition, try to validate the site exists by checking to see whether it has been referenced in legitimate media outlets. Also, only communicate on the rental service’s platform, like VRBO or Airbnb.

On holiday:

  • Beware of Who You Trust: One of the most common threats while travelling is impersonation scams. Attackers may pose as hotel staff, tour guides, or even fellow holidaymakers to gain access to personal information or valuable belongings. Always verify the identity of individuals before sharing any sensitive information or handing over personal belongings.
  • Understand the Risks: Public networks are often unencrypted, meaning that cybercriminals can intercept data transmitted over these networks putting your information at risk of being compromised. One of the most effective ways to safeguard your data while using public Wi-Fi is by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that encrypts your internet connection, creating a secure tunnel between your device and the internet.
  • Take Care When Scanning QR Codes: Plenty of restaurants place QR codes on their tables so you can order from your phone. The problem is that scammers sometimes tamper with these codes to redirect victims to scam sites. Check for any signs of tampering or use a tool that can block scam sites associated with bogus QR codes. AI powered technology helps by automatically scanning URLs and alerting you if it’s linked to a scam site.
  • Think Before You Post: Sharing your location online in real-time or sharing details about your travel itinerary can make you a target for thieves and cybercriminals. Avoid oversharing on social media, especially when it comes to your whereabouts, and consider waiting to post holiday updates until you are home. 

For more information about how to better protect yourself online and learn about McAfee’s products and services, visit

Featured Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash.

Latest articles


Related articles