The Threat of Scammers on Booking.com
Customers utilizing Booking.com to secure holiday accommodations are being urged to exercise caution as scammers are posing as legitimate hotels, attempting to extract payments for fake reservations.
This Is Money has uncovered instances of fraudsters infiltrating the site’s secure messaging system, duping users into making payments to secure reservations.
Previous Scams and the Latest Incident
In a deja vu scenario reminiscent of a Booking.com scam reported in October 2023, travelers are once again falling victim to fraudulent messages within the platform’s messaging portal.
This time, a reader reported encountering a scam when exchanging messages with a hotel owner regarding an upcoming trip.
The Scam Scenario: Impersonation and Fake Reservation Confirmation
Despite the supposed security of Booking.com’s internal messaging system, scammers managed to infiltrate a user’s chat thread, sending a message alerting them to a potential booking cancellation due to an “unknown error.”
The fraudulent message included the traveler’s full name and urged them to click a link to a suspicious third-party website to “confirm” their booking.
Potential Phishing Scenarios and Red Flags
Analysis of the scam reveals potential phishing attempts, aiming to extract personal details such as names, addresses, and bank information.
The deceptive website, unrelated to Booking or the hotel, could lead to identity theft or financial losses. Red flags included an unofficial-looking website address with random numbers, a common characteristic of scams.
User Vigilance: Identifying and Avoiding Scams
To avoid falling victim to such scams, users are advised to scrutinize website addresses before clicking, ensuring authenticity.
In this case, the reader wisely identified the scam and refrained from clicking the deceptive link, emphasizing the need for user vigilance.
Booking.com’s Response and Clarification
Addressing the security concerns raised, Booking.com denied any breach of its website’s security. Instead, the company asserted that scammers were targeting hotels, gaining unauthorized access to their Booking.com accounts.
By impersonating hotel staff, fraudsters could exploit the platform’s messaging system to communicate with guests and request payments.
Protective Measures and Customer Guidance
Booking.com assured users that it has implemented measures to combat the evolving scam since its initial discovery in 2023.
The company advises customers to carefully review payment policies outlined on property listing pages and booking confirmations.
In case of suspicions, users are encouraged to report messages to Booking.com’s customer service or utilize the “report an issue” function within the chat, accompanied by clear guidance on avoiding suspicious activity.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn