Cybercriminals target Booking.com
12 November 2014 - 12:12 by Mike Price
A new cyber scam has been unveiled this week, with customers of travel site, Booking.com, targeted by criminals who exploited details of their legitimate reservations to siphon money from innocent parties, according to BBC News.
Because the crooks could see which customers were booked into particular hotels and resorts, they emailed them under the guise of being Booking.com representatives and convinced them that they needed to pay for their stay in advance, thus netting cash from people who thought they were paying for something legitimate.
The extent of the fraud was significant, with the scammers creating very realistic emails, that even included the reservation numbers that were relevant to a customer’s order. But since Booking.com does not require upfront payment in any situation, alarm bells sounded and more customers were hit with the scam.
This kind of fraud is not uncommon, although attempts to circumvent sites offering safe shopping online are rarely as sophisticated as those targeting Booking.com. The message to consumers, as always, is to be alert and take note of any suspicious emails which make unreasonable or outlandish requests.
If you do receive this type of correspondence, it is best to get in touch with the retailer concerned directly, since they should be able to clear up the validity of the email. Most of all, you should never respond to a request for cash made by email, since almost no legitimate companies will take this action.
Some customers who fell for the scam lost several hundred pounds in the process, although Booking.com has now made changes to its security systems, to ensure that this kind of thing cannot occur in the future.
The ability to carry out safe shopping online relies on both the retailer and the customer being aware of the threats they face and adapting to them.