AI-Driven Travel Scams Soar 900%: Disney Warns Millions of Visitors

A composite image shows a woman looking distressed at her laptop while holding a credit card. Behind her, an airplane takes off near a Disney castle within an airport scene. The images suggest travel and financial concerns, possibly due to planning a Disney vacation.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Artificial Intelligence has led to a global uptick in travel scams, up to 900% so far, leading to millions of Disney guests being on high alert worldwide. Here’s what you need to know.

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Credit: Inside The Magic

AI Causes 900% Travel Scams Increase Globally, Affecting Millions of Disney Guests

According to an article from the BBC, has warned about the surge in travel scams fueled by artificial intelligence (AI). Marnie Wilking, the firm’s internet safety head, highlighted that there has been “anywhere from a 500 to a 900% increase” in such scams over the past 18 months. A significant rise in phishing attacks, where individuals are deceived into revealing their financial details, has been noted since the advent of generative AI tools like ChatGPT.

“Of course, we’ve had phishing since the dawn of email, but the uptick started shortly after ChatGPT launched,” Wilking explained. “The attackers are using AI to launch attacks that mimic emails far better than anything that they’ve done to date.” These phishing attacks often involve sending fake but compelling internet booking links to trick people into sharing their card details. Scammers frequently target websites like and Airbnb, allowing individuals to list their properties.

Once a victim makes a payment, the scammers either disappear, leaving the buyer without accommodation or attempt to extract more money through follow-up messages. Historically, such scams were often identifiable by obvious signs of fraud, such as spelling and grammatical errors. However, Wilking, speaking at the Collision Technology Conference in Toronto, noted that AI now enables the creation of realistic images and much more accurate text in multiple languages, making scams harder to detect.

Composite image: On the left, travelers with backpacks and suitcases wait in line at an airport. On the right, a crowded Disney amusement park filled with people. In the foreground, Mickey Mouse (character) waves at the crowd.

Credit: Inside The Magic

To counter these threats, Wilking advocates using two-factor authentication, which requires an additional security check, such as a code sent to a phone. She calls it “the best way to combat phishing and credential stealing.” She also emphasizes the importance of increased vigilance when clicking on links.

Despite the rise in AI-driven scams, Wilking acknowledged that AI helps swiftly remove fake listings. “We’ve set up AI models to detect those and either block them from getting on there to begin with or take them down before there’s any booking,” she said.

Jane Hawkes, a consumer expert in the travel industry, urged travel providers to “step up efforts” to raise awareness about these scams and advise travelers on minimizing their risks. She recommended that travelers conduct thorough research to avoid scams, including verifying that websites provide contact details and telephone numbers, which many scam sites intentionally omit.

A person with luggage inside of an airport on their way to Walt Disney World Resort.

Credit: Inside The Magic

AI Is Getting Better With Sounding and Appearing Human

Hawkes also suggested booking package holidays instead of separate flights and accommodation and using a credit card to ensure maximum protection. “They also have a responsibility to advise travelers ways to minimize the risk of being scammed,” she said.

Disney guests traveling to parks globally, including Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort, are increasingly at risk of phishing scams. These scams often target travelers booking accommodations and tickets online. Given the high volume of international guests planning trips to Disney parks, scammers see an opportunity to exploit their need for reservations and detailed travel itineraries.

Phishing attacks can be particularly prevalent during peak travel seasons, such as summer vacations, holidays, and special events like Disney’s Fourth of July celebrations or Halloween parties. Guests planning their visits during these times might rush to secure accommodations and tickets, making them more susceptible to fraudulent booking sites that use AI to create convincing fake links.

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Credit: TourRadar

You Can Protect Yourself Against Scams as a Disney Guest

With AI generating realistic text in multiple languages, scammers can effectively target Disney guests from various countries, adapting their phishing schemes to local languages and cultural contexts. This makes it more challenging for non-native speakers to identify scams, as fraudulent communications can appear highly authentic.

Many Disney guests book their trips through travel agencies or as part of package deals, including flights, hotels, park tickets, and dining plans. Scammers may exploit these complex arrangements by creating fake travel agency websites or fraudulent package deals. Travelers must be vigilant about verifying the authenticity of the agencies and the packages they purchase.

To protect themselves, Disney guests should do the following to ensure they are safe when planning vacations to any Disney park worldwide: Employ two-factor authentication for online accounts and reservations to add an extra layer of security. Ensure that they are booking through official Disney websites or trusted travel agencies.

A person stands in front of a flight information board, looking up at the screen. To the left, an image of Mickey Mouse at a Disney theme park with a castle in the background adds a touch of magic to the scene.

Credit: Inside The Magic

Stay Alert When Booking Your Next Vacation to Theme Parks Online

Look for contact details and telephone numbers often needing to be added to scam sites. Be cautious of emails or messages that ask for personal or financial information, especially if they contain urgent language or links to unfamiliar websites. Conduct due diligence by reading reviews, checking the authenticity of websites, and verifying offers through official channels.

Consider booking package holidays that include flights, accommodation, and park tickets through reputable sources to minimize the risk of fraud. Make payments with credit cards to benefit from fraud protection and chargeback options in case of scams. While scammers are using AI to enhance their attacks, Disney and other travel providers can also use AI to combat these threats.

AI models can more efficiently detect and remove fake listings and phishing attempts, protecting guests from scams. Disney guests can protect themselves from AI travel scams by adopting several vigilant practices when planning their vacations. First and foremost, it is crucial to book accommodations, tickets, and other travel arrangements through official Disney websites or reputable travel agencies known for their credibility.

A crowd of people waits in line to enter Disneyland Paris. The main entrance features a large sign with "Disneyland Paris" in colorful letters, and a smaller "Welcome" sign underneath. Many visitors carry backpacks and wear winter clothing.

Credit: Travel + Leisure, X

Guests should always verify a website’s authenticity by checking for secure URLs (those that start with “https”), looking for contact information, and ensuring the presence of customer service phone numbers, which are often absent on scam sites. Using two-factor authentication for online accounts adds an extra layer of security, requiring a password and a secondary verification method, such as a code sent to a mobile device.

Guests should also be wary of unsolicited emails or messages, particularly those that ask for personal or financial information or contain urgent language encouraging immediate action. These phishing attempts often mimic official communications but can be identified through scrutiny of email addresses and the presence of spelling or grammatical errors, although AI-generated messages are increasingly sophisticated.

Conducting thorough research, such as reading reviews and seeking recommendations from trusted sources, can help verify the legitimacy of travel deals. Furthermore, booking package holidays through well-known providers and using credit cards for payments can offer additional layers of protection, such as fraud monitoring and the ability to dispute charges if a scam is detected.

Entrance of disneyland with closed gates, featuring a building with a clock tower decorated with american flags, and people standing by the entrance.

Credit: Travel and Leisure, X post

By staying informed about the latest scamming techniques and maintaining a cautious approach to online interactions, Disney guests can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to AI-driven travel scams.

Disney guests around the globe must be aware of the heightened risk of travel scams, especially those fueled by advanced AI technologies. By implementing robust security practices and staying vigilant, travelers can better protect themselves and ensure their magical Disney experiences remain safe and enjoyable.

By following these steps and guidelines, Disney guests around the globe can watch out for those AI scams causing chaos to millions worldwide. Sometimes, its best to talk on the phone with a human being when planning your trip to Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland California, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, Disneyland Paris, and others.

About Emmanuel Detres

Since first stepping inside the Magic Kingdom at nine years old, I knew I was destined to be a theme Park enthusiast. Although I consider myself a theme Park junkie, I still have much to learn and discover about Disney. Universal Orlando Resort has my heart; being an Annual Passholder means visiting my favorite places on Earth when possible! When I’m not writing about Disney, Universal, or entertainment news, you’ll find me cruising on my motorcycle, hiking throughout my local metro parks, or spending quality time with my girlfriend, family, or friends.

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