/financial crime

News and resources on financial crime, including fraud, scams, Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer.
Lloyds warns against fraudsters on Booking.com and Airbnb

Lloyds warns against fraudsters on Booking.com and Airbnb

With summer holidays on the horizon, Lloyds Bank is cautioning customers against scams as they book their vacations.

According to analysis by Lloyds, holiday purchase scams have risen 7% in the last year, with victims losing £765 on average. People between the ages of 35-44 are most likely to fall for these scams, making up over a quarter of victims (27%).

Scammers often lurk on Facebook and Facebook Marketplace, where 49% of holiday scams begin, Lloyds claim. Even legitimate booking sites, such as Booking.com and Airbnb have been used to lure people into scams.

Fraudsters use stolen images to pose as a fictional hotel or home on Airbnb and Booking.com, sometimes accepting an initial deposit on the website, before asking for further payment in another format. These scams are sometimes not realised under the victims have arrived for their stay, leaving them in a tricky situation.

Fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, Liz Ziegler, advises holidaymakers: “Whilst legitimate cheap flights and beautiful holiday homes are definitely out there, it’s important people take steps to ensure they are purchasing something that is real. For example, Facebook Marketplace is probably not the best place to find flights for your next holiday. And often, when things seem too good to be true, it’s because they are.

“Always take the time to think about purchases you make online, and when in doubt, always book through a trusted retailer. When it comes to booking stays, always use your card and don’t be fooled by hosts asking you to ignore the websites rules and transfer money directly to them.”

The most common fake item that people get tricked into losing money over are flight tickets, followed by caravans. Fraudsters will draw in victims with false advertisements promising cheap flights or caravans, or an offer to sell their own tickets, asking for a fee to change the name on the ticket. Once the payment has been made, the scammers disappear.

Lloyds suggests for holidaymakers to book stays directly from hotels and airlines, always use debit or credit cards to protect funds, and not to succumb to pressure to make a payment if being sent multiple requests for funds.

When booking through websites such as Booking.com or Airbnb, Lloyds advices to only pay through their systems and never agree to transfer money directly to the host’s personal account. If either sites ask for follow-up payments over email, always check with the website first.

Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 15 April, 2024, 12:56Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Kudos to Lloyds Bank. If rogue regulators apply drunk under lamp post regulation and force banks to compensate victims of APP scam for no fault of banks, it's only natural that banks warn consumers that they risk getting scammed at various marketplaces / aggregators and, in the extreme case, even stop payments to such merchants. Anybody who thinks banks are spreading FUD, instead of creating awareness, should take over the liability of making refunds for APP scam from banks.

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 22 April, 2024, 11:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Yes indeed, next majore issue to  for a news-break in the fraud area is the QR code fraud that will evolve into phishing and smishing fraud markets. The more "open" bank accounts are made, the more innovative fraudsters seeking entry we will see. How does a user know that a QR code for instant payments in open banking is a reliable one? 

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune 22 April, 2024, 13:40Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Actually, the more open bank accounts become, the LESS innovative fraudsters will be - who needs more than room temperature IQ to compromise an "open" bank account, right?!!!

QR code is of course a low hanging fruit. But banks and other genuine parties are not making life any easy for customers to escape phishing attacks e.g. My bank, whose website is abcbank.com, sent an SMS to warn customers not to click any links from fraudsters masquerading as it and directed customers to click abcbank.io for more information! More in the post titled Variants Are Making Phishing Attacks More Lethal Than Ever on my company blog (hyperlink to post removed to comply with Finextra Community Rules but this post should appear on top of Google Search results when searched by its title + "GTM360").