Cloned websites, dodgy text messages... how to detect holiday rental scams
Consumer affairs

Cloned websites, dodgy text messages... how to detect holiday rental scams

National Police, Airbnb and Confianza Online have joined forces to raise awareness of possible fraud when booking stays and accommodation this summer

Raquel Merino

Tuesday, 11 June 2024, 19:26

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Almost half of people surveyed in an Airbnb study are unable to identify a fake holiday, travel or accommodation website, the findings reveal.

Detecting this type of website, or even cloned websites, is essential to avoid being a victim of a scam when booking holiday accommodation, although it is not the only way.

National Police, Aribnb and online security experts Confianza Online have joined forces in a campaign to raise awareness of potential scams when booking summer stays and accommodation, and how to combat them.

It is at this time of year that fraudsters use the opportunity to deploy all their tricks: cloned websites, suspicious text messages, emails and the use of social media. One of the most common scams is phishing, a technique that involves gaining people's trust to share confidential information through fake emails, text messages or phone calls.

Following certain tips, such as avoiding accessing dodgy web links, being suspicious of offers that are too cheap or deposits that are too high, as well as choosing the right payment method, can prevent you from falling victim to this type of scam.

These are the tips offered by National Police, Aribnb and Confianza Online:

Never click on links you don't trust

Fraudulent links and suspicious email attachments are designed to redirect users to fake websites designed to look like verified pages, but which may trick users into revealing personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Beware of suspiciously cheap offers or high deposits

If an offer or promotion seems too good to be true, it could be a scam and it is best to end all communication immediately.

Stay on the platform for booking, payment and communication

It is safer to book and pay for stays through the platform to take advantage of Airbnb's secure processes and refund policies. If in the process, the user is asked to leave the platform, it is better to leave the site and notify the user.

Use a different password for each account you create and enable two-step authentication

If personal data is compromised online, fraudsters can access this information and use it to monitor victims' accounts.

In addition to these tips, National Police recommend reporting this type of scam to the police to help with investigations. To do so, be sure to provide all the information you have, whether it be payment receipts, screenshots or any relevant contact details.

Tiziana Tallaro, CEO of Confianza Online, pointed out: "research data reveals that online fraud can affect people of all ages". She therefore urges tourists to be cautious when browsing the internet, to analyse offers, ensure payment methods are secure and use trusted booking platforms.

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