Aussies travelling abroad warned about international summer of scams

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  • One in three Aussies saving for a holiday, prompting scam warning for travellers heading overseas
  • Major sporting events and concerts in Europe and America a target for ticket scams
  • NAB’s experts share how to recognise common travel scams and red flags

Australians heading overseas to chase a European or North American summer are being urged to get scam savvy to avoid a holiday from hell.

Criminals are expected to target major sporting events and big international concerts, just as hundreds of thousands of Australians and their families prepare to jet off overseas.

Three scams to watch out for when travelling overseas this year include:

  • Accommodation or booking website impersonation scams
  • Ticket scams for major events
  • Overcharging or wrong charge scams

    Image of a woman from behind as she looks at a historic monument.
    A record 130,510 Australian residents holidayed in Italy between June and August 2023, according to the ABS. NAB is warning Australians about three common travel scams just as hundreds of thousands of Aussies prepare to jet off overseas this year.

Read an explainer about these scams on NAB News

NAB Executive, Group Investigations Chris Sheehan said criminals weren’t constrained by borders and geography when trying to rip people off.

“We know these three scams are happening overseas. Just like you’d plan visas and check the weather at your destination, it’s also vital to be aware of common scams in the countries you’re visiting so you can recognise the red flags and protect yourself,” Mr Sheehan said.

“While the cost of living remains a concern for many, we know Australians have spent months making smarter spending and saving decisions, or banking rewards points, so they can prioritise travelling this year.

“For some it will be a bucket list trip like cheering the Green and Gold on in Paris, while for others it may be a holiday with family or friends.”

Image of a man in a suit and tie smiling.
NAB Group Investigations and Fraud Executive Chris Sheehan. Mr Sheehan is a former Australian Federal Police executive and now leading NAB’s work to reduce the impact of scams and fraud.

Around 80% of Aussies say they’re trying to save more money and build an average $17,000 in savings, while a third say they’re saving that money for a holiday, according to data from NAB Economics.

Mr Sheehan said travel scams tapped into emotions including fear of missing out, tiredness and excitement, which can be heightened in an unfamiliar environment or if we’re really focused on looking for a bargain or managing a budget.

“The pressure to act now is a red flag in ticket and accommodation scams, while overcharging or wrong charging scams play on distraction and a lack of detail,” Mr Sheehan, a former Australian Federal Police executive, said.

“Letting your bank know where and when you’re travelling can help with more accurately monitoring your transactions for suspicious activity while you’re away.

“If you find yourself in trouble, get in touch with your bank as soon as possible. You can often block and unblock your cards in your bank’s app or internet banking at the click of a button.”

The warnings come as NAB continues its fight against scams as part of a bank-wide strategy.

“We’ve seen customer losses decrease between October and December 2023, compared to the same period in 2022, despite customer scam reports increasing over that time,” Mr Sheehan said.

“We’re always looking for new ways to better protect our customers, but it’s pleasing to see we’re making an impact as a bank, and as a community.

Initiatives like removing links from text messages, making it harder for criminals to impersonate bank phone numbers and introducing real-time payment alerts to the NAB app and Internet Banking are making a difference.”

Notes to editors:

  • Stay up to date with the latest scams and fraud advice available on NAB’s Security Hub.

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