PORTLAND, Oregon (KTVZ) – This week, the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday feature is dedicated to building a digital defense against vacation travel scams.
Time is running out and your partner really wants to go visit family for the holidays. You really don’t want to spend a week living with the in-laws, so you start researching rentals.
You find a lot in one place with availability when you need it. Sounds awesome – if it’s legit.
Scammers can easily extract images from reputable sites and build their own list. You’re asked to pay through a money transfer app, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency, and all is well until you show up and find out that your rental is just another racket.
Third party airline and hotel booking sites may present their own risks. You receive an email or see a social media post about cheap tickets or rooms. You click and immediately jump on the deal. Soon you will receive a request for additional information such as bank details to confirm the agreement. You have just suffered a triple whammy. You will lose your money, you have most likely downloaded malware on your device, and you have given the wrong actor permission to access your financial information.
Here’s how to protect yourself:
- Use a reputable rental company or travel company. Review notices, privacy policies, security policies, and payment options.
- Confirm reimbursement or dispute resolution procedures up front.
- Find the rental company. How does he filter his hosts? What protections does it offer?
- Don’t let the urgency of the host or travel agent lead you to make a bad decision. Bad actors will use the fear of missing out to make you act without thinking.
- Do not click on unsolicited links or attachments.
If you are the victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI Internet Crime Complaints Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.