As the launch of the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) draws nearer, officials have released a new warning to travel businesses and travellers alike to beware of unofficial websites claiming to provide ETIAS services. The EU border control agency has issued a stark warning about the rise of these fraudulent platforms, urging UK travel businesses and their travellers to exercise caution and stay up to date on any common signs of a fake. 

Why Are There Fake ETIAS Websites? 

The EU border control agency has raised concerns over the emergence of approximately 60 unofficial ETIAS websites, posing a significant threat to travellers and travel businesses alike. These fake ETIAS platforms are exploiting the impending ETIAS requirements in the EU to mislead travellers into believing they are legitimate service providers. 

These websites often mimic the official ETIAS application process, leading travellers to share sensitive information, personal information, or pay unnecessary fees, potentially leading to identity theft. The pattern of these fraudulent sites following the evolving trends in fraudulent travel makes it challenging for both consumers and businesses to discern their authenticity. 

For UK travel businesses, this poses a threat to the level of trust a consumer has with their chosen travel business. Fortunately, as a member of Protected Trust Services (PTS), travel businesses can easily prove their trusted member status and give travellers the peace of mind they need to book their holiday without fear of these ETIAS scams.  

Next to this, there are a few things that you can do for your consumers to ensure they feel safe when they travel amidst the emergence of these fraud sites: 

  1. Educate Your Travellers: Ensuring your travellers stay informed and updated on situations like the fake ETIAS websites can go a long way in creating a lasting relationship with a returning client. Whether this is simply letting them know that they need to do some research of their own, or sharing your own research and providing sources for them to stay informed, keeping your travellers safe will give them confidence in your service. 
  2. Verify Official ETIAS Channels: Stay informed about the official ETIAS application process and regularly check for updates from authoritative sources. Ensure that your travellers are directed to official government websites when applying for their travel authorisations. 
  3. Include Warnings on Your Platforms: Embed warnings about the risks of unofficial ETIAS websites on your own platforms, including your website, social media channels, and communication materials can passively help any travellers who consider booking with you not to fall for this scam and other similar ones. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to client safety and security. 

As the ETIAS system approaches its launch in 2025, UK travel businesses and travellers must be proactive in addressing the risks associated with unofficial ETIAS websites and staying informed.  

The threat of fraudulent ETIAS websites is not necessarily a new threat considering the many fraudsters that still appear in the travel market, but staying informed, both as a business and a traveller, can go a long way to ensuring that these fake businesses become less and less effective and affect fewer and fewer holidays every year. 

So, if you would like to learn about how your consumers’ monies are protected with Protected Trust Services (PTS) and how we support excellent travel businesses, check out our pages. Or you can contact the lovely PTS team by calling 0207 190 9988 or emailing us at ask@protectedtrustservices.com.   

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