How to detect cyber scams in vacation accommodations
- We must be alert to websites that offer below market prices, websites with many grammatical errors or where there is no contact number and communication is only by email.
August 17, 2021.- S2 Grupo, a company specialized in cybersecurity and critical systems management, has reported that due to the fact that it is increasingly common to book our vacations online, cyber scams have increased in this area.
Cybercrime has mainly focused on vacation rental accommodations and vehicle rentals. Faced with this situation, S2 Grupo experts have stressed that it is essential to take into account some recommendations that will allow us to detect if we are facing possible cyber crooks:
- Beware of "super bargains": we have to be very cautious with prices below the market. This is already a sign to suspect a possible fraud.
- Language of the website with many flaws: a good part of the scams on the Internet are made by people who are in other countries because the laws there are not so strict. To make the websites they use translators, so this type of action is very recognizable and should alert us immediately.
- Check if there is a contact telephone number: from S2 Grupo they ensure that if the only way to contact the owner or manager of the vacation rental is an email, we must be suspicious. It is important that we can have a direct telephone number to contact the seller quickly if we need it.
- No wire transfer payments: cybercriminals normally use this technique and ask for payment to be made to banks that we do not know or are foreign, therefore, we are faced with another sign to distrust. They may also request full or partial payment be made through online services that allow money to be sent, such as Western Union or similar services.
- The owner is abroad: many cybercriminals pretend to be owners who are outside the country and then explain that they will send the keys and the contract upon payment of a deposit. If we agree to his type of proposal, it is more than likely that we will be left without a vacation and without the deposit money.
- Search on the Internet: before formalizing the reservation, it is advisable to do a Google search on the accommodation. For example, we can enter the owner's name and email address. This way, if there are already previous complaints or comments that relate it to a cyber scam, we will see it immediately because we will find comments about it. It is also interesting to look for the address of the accommodation on Google Maps and check if it matches what is offered.
- Photos appear in other ads: before booking accommodation it is important to check whether these images appear in other ads. If we find them on other pages but it matches an ad for the same house, for example, no problem. However, we may find that the photo we have been shown is part of a completely different ad, then that will be very significant.