(WWBT/WXIX) - A lot of families now choose to book vacation rentals, rather than hotel rooms. Unfortunately scammers have figured that out.
Now thieves are taking advantage of other people thanks to new software.
A new report from Krebs on Security says thieves are now marketing their own Airbnb scam software online to other thieves.
Krebs says a criminal set up a software service called Land Lordz - yes, with a "z" - and is charging other scammers $550 a month for help setting up and managing phony Airbnb listings.
The scams work like this: You spot a promising property listing on Airbnb. The photos look great, and the reviews are excellent.
On the listing you see Airbnb’s buyer protection guarantee, with a promise of a refund if you’re unhappy.
That all looks good, so you click on the link in the listing to reserve the property. And that’s your mistake as that link actually takes you to a lookalike site that isn’t Airbnb at all.
The scammer who set all of this up did a beautiful job. They lifted photos and reviews from real listings for their phony ones. There’s even a live chat button you can click.
But any information you enter here, from your name and contact information to your credit card number, is promptly stolen by the thieves.
The worst case scenario? Not only do the thieves have your money and personal information, but you don’t figure out you’ve been ripped off until you’re now on that vacation, looking for your rental that doesn’t really exist!
The avoid getting scammed, always make sure those bookings are through the travel site itself.
If a property owner asks you to communicate off the platform, that’s a big red flag.
Always use credit cards, not debit, since the fraud protections are much better.
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