With the COVID-19 restrictions removed in many popular tourist destinations, the summer travel season is expected to be busy. It can also mean the resurrection of a vacation nightmare.

Fake Copycat Airlines sites and fake vacation rental lists are just some of the ways scammers are fooling travelers. Adam Levin “There was one case where someone appeared, it was a vacant lot, and I was a little worried,” said a cybersecurity expert.

Do a survey before you drop your money for your next vacation. Pay particular attention to fake rental properties on Airbnb or VRBO.

“If a list photo contains multiple list service watermarks (MLS watermarks), it is a fake photo taken by a scammer from multiple lists of properties for sale and used for rent. It means it could have been part of the ad, “Levin said.

Get an online photo list for your vacation rental and reverse Google Image Search to see if it appears elsewhere.

Remember that scammers have immediate access to opportunities, like the generosity of those who want to help Ukrainian refugees. Some people have booked Airbnbs and decided to allow refugees to stay there, but scammers saw this as an opportunity to create a fake rental property to earn your money. ..

“Check how long the list has been on. Especially the list that was on long before the dispute began. Looking at the series of suddenly popped lists, some are legitimate and some are not. There is also, “Levin said.

Another danger signal is when the person who owns the rental requests payment for Airbnb.

“As long as you book through Airbnb and pay through Airbnb, the Golden Rule protects your money,” said Ben Bright of Airbnb.

When it comes to vacation and travel fraud, almost people have reported a loss of $ 90 million to the Federal Trade Commission over the past two years. Many of these losses are due to fake travel websites.With Alyssa Parker BBB in eastern North Carolina “Make sure you have HTTPS and the lock is set there. This will tell you that your website is secure.”

In addition to fake travel websites, Parker suggests reading that fine print when it comes to being too good to be a real deal. Look for additional charges and exclusions that can be costly when it comes to travel time.

Do as much research as you can before booking your next vacation. Read reviews to check your travel website history and always make sure you’re dealing with a real airline, hotel, or car rental location, not a legitimate looking imitation website.

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