ACCC: Increase in holiday scams

Scamwatch has received over 150 reports about scams on sharing economy platforms this year, with $80,000 reported lost – a threefold increase in 12 months

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) at least three people per week have been caught by a scam on sharing economy platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz this year, with Aussies out of pocket around $65,000 over the 12 month period. This represents a threefold increase since 2015.

“Watch out for scammers advertising accommodation deals in great locations at cheap prices. When you go to book a break, scammers direct you away from the site and ask you to pay them directly using money orders or wire transfer services such as Western Union and MoneyGram,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned.

“Some reports indicate that scammers create very convincing fake versions of the site which they can use to collect personal details and banking information. Be aware that the scammers may send ‘confirmation’ emails which appear to be official, using a logo or email address that imitates the real thing.”

“Most legitimate websites and peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb set up secure payment systems where the operator acts as an intermediary between the traveler and property owner. Paying through the platform’s system provides both owners and customers with safeguards such as refunds, cancellation policies and dispute resolution in the event that problems arise.”

If you have been scammed…

Make sure you report it! To both the genuine accommodation site and ACCC (via Scamwatch)

Oh, and if you’re driving to your holiday destination, don’t speed…

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