Since as early as August, 10,000 people who booked hotel rooms through Booking.com have been the victims of phishing scams. Both via email and via phone, said customers have been asked to pay for their accommodations in full up front–from both the hotel where they are booked and Booking.com itself. The only problem is that the emails and phone calls are fake and go against Booking.com’s payment practices.
What made the emails so convincing, according to customers who received them, were official-looking Booking.com and hotel logos, the correct reservation number and details, the names of booked guests, and, of course, the accessibility to contact information. Luckily, it seems that payment information was not stolen.
While Booking.com will not say that their systems have been breached, they are doing the right thing by reimbursing any customers who did comply with the fake requests for pre-payment.
With the huge influx of television marketing for Booking.com as of late, this scam is quite jarring, and customers around the globe have been affected–including in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Italy, France, Portugal, and the United Arab Emirates.
Netherlands-based Booking.com is warning its customers not to respond to emails asking for pre-payment and have made changes to its system in order to combat future phishing scams.
Perhaps this is the time for all hoteliers and online travel agents to take a look at their security standards to make sure that valued customers are not taken advantage of in a similar situation.