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  • Writer's pictureDamian Brzeski

Are you booking accommodation online? Here's what you should watch out for

In the era of ubiquitous technology, the Internet has undoubtedly become one of the main sources of searching and booking holiday adventures. Unfortunately, with the convenience of online shopping comes the risk of fraud. And there are more and more of them, both in terms of method and quantity.

Despite warnings repeated here and there for years, many people are still unaware of the dangers resulting from careless users and too much trust in people and companies advertising on the Internet without checking their credibility.

Don't be fooled when booking your holiday

1. Fake offers and websites

Scammers often create attractive but unrealistic holiday offers, presenting them on seemingly professional websites. They often use stolen photos to confuse potential customers. After making the payment or after arriving at the destination, it turns out that the reserved place does not exist and the dreams of a dream vacation are ruined.

Tip : Always check the credibility of a website or ad, compare offers from different sources, and look for reviews from other travelers before making a payment. Also determine whether a given address actually exists - in more and more cases, Google Maps helps.

It is possible to check whether the website is new or has been purchased. You can do this by entering its address here: Check whether the website has been operating continuously for a long time. It is common practice to buy the so-called expired domains, this is to facilitate the positioning of such a website due to the fact that it uses an Internet address with a history.

If you see a website offering a service that requires prepayment and the website has been open for several weeks, I would honestly advise against using it.


2. Phishing and identity theft

When making a reservation online, there is a risk of revealing personal information. Fraudsters can use this information to conduct phishing attacks or identity theft, exposing the victim to serious financial and privacy consequences.

Tip : Always check that the site you are making a payment on is secure (starts with "https://") and avoid sharing too much personal information. It is best to use proven large portals such as Booking or AirBnB, and when ordering directly on the hotel's website, check whether the closed padlock icon next to the website address is visible in your browser.

3. Fake reviews

Scammers often manipulate reviews by posting fake reviews to gain the trust of potential customers. Instead of relying solely on reviews available on the official website, it is worth looking for opinions on independent review platforms.

Advice : Be skeptical of one-sided, enthusiastic opinions. Search for reviews on various websites to get a more objective picture.

Reviews on Google Maps have been working great lately, the platform has recently been paying a lot of attention to selecting fake opinions, but there are still a lot of advertisements on the Internet where you can buy opinions even from verified accounts. Local guides. Prices for such an opinion range from a few cents at Indian auctions to a few zlotys.

4. Forcing payments

Some scammers try to extort additional fees by threatening to cancel your reservation or lose your deposit. They also often require payments only in the form of cryptocurrencies, making it difficult to track transactions.

Tip : Read the terms of the contract carefully before making a payment. Avoid working with companies that use aggressive methods of extorting fees. If the payment is in cryptocurrency, you can almost be sure that it is a scam.

In Poland, the use of an advance payment before the client's arrival is increasingly being abandoned. Most often, a signed contract is a sufficient form of security.

Who to trust on the Internet?

The easiest way to check the credibility of a place to stay is a hotel, motel or hostel. All company data must be provided on their websites. In Poland, you can easily check such a place by entering its NIP number into the search engine on the GOV website:

The situation is slightly worse in the case of private accommodation rented in residential houses. In this situation, it is better to look for such accommodation on the recommendation of friends or a family member who has already been to a given place, confirms that it really exists and actually guarantees the promised standard.

On the Internet - just like in road traffic - it is best to follow the principle of limited trust.

This is not to assume that everyone on the Internet wants to cheat and make money this way, but it is important to remember that each person as a customer has their own rights, including checking the contractor before signing any contract or making a reservation, especially one that requires a prepayment. .



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