Fraudsters are profiting from tourists en masse: beware of fake Airbnb and Booking sites

By SSPDailyJan 22, 2024 12:38 PMLife
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Fraudsters are profiting from tourists en masse
Fraudsters are profiting from tourists en masse. Source: www.aarp.org

With the development of technology, fraudulent schemes are becoming more and more sophisticated. Popular travel booking sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com have been targeted by attackers.

Experts warn that fraudsters are stepping up their efforts to lure money from vacationers through fake deals, cancellations, and convincing clones of well-known sites. This is stated in the material of Сhroniclelive.

Fake accommodation offers

Tourists are warned that criminals are creating convincing fake websites, hacking legitimate accounts, and posting fraudulent ads on social media in an attempt to steal your cash. In the worst case scenario, you may find that the accommodation you booked is unavailable or even didn't exist at all.

Scams can include offers of large discounts (up to 30%) on accommodation, and you are asked to make an advance payment via money transfer. You should be wary of offers of large discounts allegedly from the owners of the accommodation, who ask you to pay them directly by bank transfer. If you are asked to make a bank transfer or use a transfer service such as MoneyGram or Western Union, it is likely to be a scam. To be on the safe side, check for reviews: if the company is unfamiliar, search online for reviews and testimonials and check the company's contact information to find an address and a working phone number.

Cloning of vacation booking websites

Scammers can duplicate well-known websites - such as Airbnb or Booking.com - sometimes down to the smallest detail. They can then use them to steal your money or collect your personal information or payment details. As soon as you provide your card details to buy a vacation, fraudsters will have your money and personal information.

To protect yourself, always check the official address of the booking website. Do not click on links in emails or text messages: if in doubt, go directly to the website by entering the website address yourself.

Fake cancellation refunds

Fraudsters often try to deceive tourists who make a flight or hotel reservation. Fraudulent emails look like they are from a travel company. The emails may invite you to claim a refund, but contain a link to a fake website that is used to steal your personal and financial information.

Fake calls from "refund agents" are also used to request your bank details. Criminals may also use fake customer service accounts on social media. Attackers can create fake social media accounts by imitating the accounts of real companies.

Fake gifts

If you suddenly receive an email, text message, or WhatsApp message offering a deal or gift that you can't miss, be very careful as it could be a scam. The exact form of this type of scam can vary greatly as scammers tailor their messages to specific brands, holidays, or events. Be wary of any unsolicited contact: even if it looks genuine and uses the correct brand, it is likely a scam.

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