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After working hard all year, it’s wonderful to think about taking a nice relaxing vacation. But there’s nothing wonderful about finding out the holiday home you rented doesn’t exist and the “owner” disappeared with your cash deposit. This has actually happened to many unsuspecting vacation seekers who rented a holiday home online. And, consumers need to watch out for many other scams run by cybercriminals who are looking to line their pockets with their vacation cash.
Fortunately, there are a lot of legitimate holiday home rental websites that are working hard to protect their users. Using the ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Defender Platform is one key way they can identify and block fraudsters. As my colleague, Dr. Stephen Topliss, ThreatMetrix Services and Support Director in EMEA, says: “We know that fraudsters are by nature greedy. They usually run the same scam multiple times. These actions enable ThreatMetrix to protect holiday home rental sites by gathering and analyzing data to identify abnormal behavior.”
So here are some ways ThreatMetrix can be used by holiday home rental websites to block scammers:
Cybercriminals continually come up with new and more dangerous scams, such as:
Posting Fake Properties: Placing an ad about a property that either doesn’t exist, or is not owned by the person placing it. The goal is to get a direct money transfer as a deposit for the property.
Impersonating Legitimate Owners: Fraudsters compromise an email account and impersonate a legitimate owner, sometimes using personal information gained from intercepting emails.
Redirecting Web Traffic: Initial correspondence via a legitimate travel site, then directs consumers to a bogus website with fake offers or promotions.
Booking Multiple Renters for Same Period: Someone who owns a property rents it many times for the same period. They take a deposit, then notify the renter that the property is not available – but the deposit is never returned.
Cancelling on Renters at Last Minute: Contacting the renter at the last minute to cancel, then not returning the deposit.
Phishing: Emails asking for bank details as a guarantee or deposit to secure a reservation.
Offering Time Sensitive or Winning a Dream Vacation: Many scams (email, ads) promise things that are too good to be true in an effort to get your personal information.
I’m regularly amazed and pleased that our online fraud prevention solutions can directly protect consumers in so many important ways — such as helping ensure they have a happy, well- deserved vacation. It’s also good to know that we’re able to protect the reputation of holiday home rental websites that are making good faith efforts to connect legitimate owners with prospective renters.