Aid! My rental apartment in London disappeared and I was left without $3,100.

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Once you wrote to the scammers, they obtained your email address and used it, sending you an email disguised to look like an official message from Booking.com and from an @confirmations-booking.com address, which could look like an email address. legitimate. although the company says all its emails end in @booking.com.

Reading copies of the emails you sent me, the broken English is also suspicious (“Your reservation in a two-bedroom apartment with a view must be paid in full”), as are some of the bank account details. Spanish BBVA. “Nyholm Peik” has no online presence that I could find, and the address attached to the account is that of Vanity, a London “gentleman's club” whose license was suspended in early 2023.

In our follow-up communications, Sylvia, you asked whether Booking.com had reported this apparent crime to the authorities or the bank. I asked the company, which said it was the customer's responsibility to report fraud that occurs outside of its platform, and BBVA, which declined to comment. Consumers should file such reports with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center and their own bank.

I was curious to see if Airbnb and Vrbo did anything different than Booking.com, so I got in touch.

Edith Morris, a spokesperson for Vrbo, said the company deploys “a variety of sophisticated risk strategies and tools to monitor suspicious behavior 24/7 and continually invest in our capabilities.” The company offers “payment protection against fraudulent listings,” although that doesn't necessarily cover the case where a guest sends money outside of the Vrbo platform.

Airbnb is preparing a new verification process for properties, rather than just hosts, and will use “a combination of sophisticated anti-fraud technology, artificial intelligence and human review to verify authenticity,” according to a spokeswoman. She added that the first “verified” icons will soon appear on some listings in the United States, Canada, Australia, England and France.



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