State Police and Airbnb, again this year, renewed their online fraud prevention campaign for holiday accommodation reservations. According to the first Censis-DeepCyber report, about 65% of Italians were the target of phishing emails in an attempt to persuade potential victims to share sensitive data. Moreover, travel and accommodation reservations are among the five digital activities that Italians consider the most vulnerable to the security of their personal data.
“With the approach of the summer period, the number of people who book and buy travel and holidays online is constantly increasing – stated Ivano Gabrielli, Director of the Postal and Communications Police Service, thanks to the search for offers at a very low cost. Unfortunately, these activities are not always safe from dangers, As evidenced by reports of fraud received on the Postal Police portal www.commissariatodips.it Sometimes – continues Gabrielli – you can fall into the trap of ingeniously fake “courtship” sites or unscrupulous individuals, who advertise holiday packages at deeply discounted prices, hiding real scams Our goal – concludes the Postal Police Chief – is also to help users buy with complete peace of mind regardless of their computing level. That’s why we’ve created in collaboration with Airbnb an online guide to safe e-commerce with some helpful tips and practical suggestions for trouble-free online shopping.”
“Despite 6 million active listings available globally, scam attempts are extremely rare on Airbnb, and a 24/7 support team is available to support guests. The evidence is that the most common scams happen on other sites and that the Airbnb name is used to lure a potential victim. Because it is a brand that conveys trust,” explains Giacomo Trova, Regional Director of Airbnb Italy. “It is important that host guest contacts and payments always take place within our site or app, as set out in our Terms of Service. In fact, Airbnb retains the amount at the time of booking, and pays it to the owner only 24 hours after check-in.”
Watch out for links shared via email or from other sites: Watch out for rental offers posted on social media, second-hand ad sites, or real estate portals. There is a risk that they will share a link to a fake site. Keep an eye out for emails with the Airbnb logo: they don’t have to be original. In fact, reservations are only made from the website or app, and if the email includes a bank transfer request, it’s definitely a scam.
Also beware of cloning sites. For mobile booking, campaign promoters recommend downloading apps directly from the official store and not through internet browsing. While browsing on the desktop, you should make sure that the padlock icon is near the web URL.
Then we should not communicate outside the platform and be wary of those who suggest leaving the portal to privately close the transaction with the promise of a discount: it is an introduction to a bank transfer request. Furthermore, there is no guarantee from Airbnb that way. However, by staying in the app’s chat, it will be possible to report any suspicious behavior to customer service at any time.
The company reminds us that Airbnb is not a real estate agency: so, beware of any “unlikely” real estate agents. The site, in fact, is nothing but a mediation portal, at an equal distance from the host and the guest.
You do not have to pay by bank transfer and send any deposit, as it is against the terms of service. It is recommended to pay exclusively with your credit card on the site and not in any other way. In fact, Airbnb blocks the entire amount from the card and forwards it to the host just 24 hours after the check-in is made, giving time to arrive at the destination and verify that the home is exactly as advertised.
Finally, pay attention to the accommodations ‘bait’: if you arrive at your destination, the host asks for a change of accommodation, obviously does not reach the reserved place, as an excuse, the sudden problem that arose in the original apartment made it temporary. Unusable, the best thing is to document everything and contact the platform immediately for a full refund.
Photo via Instagram @FOTOGRAFIN from Pixabay
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