Up to one in every 16 online room bookings is a fake, according to official figures.
The Federal Trade Commission says travellers have arrived at hotels only to learn there’s no record of their reservation, the hotel is fully booked, or they have to pay more for the only upgraded room available.
How does this happen?
You type in the name of a hotel and then click on the first result on Google. However this first result may be a scam website that looks like the real hotel site and once you enter your details – the money will disappear and you may believe you have a room booked, but in fact haven’t and you only find that out when you arrive at the hotel.
In other cases, the bogus sites actually pose as online travel agents, again using genuine logos and photos.
And in at least one reported case, a fake site had a “contact now” button that connected victims with a fully-staffed, bogus call centre.
Just because a webpage looks like the official site of your favourite hotel chain doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Before you reserve a room for your next out-of-town meeting or family vacation, make sure you know who’s at the other end of that BOOK NOW button.
Book directly through a hotel chain using the toll-free number or web address on your rewards card or in print ads.
Carry a printed copy (or an easily accessible smartphone copy) of any email confirmation you receive after making your booking.
How to Book Safely
Check that the website address matches what you expect (you wont get a legitimate booking for Hilton hotels at fredsplumbing333.com for example)
Book directly if possible
Before setting out on your journey, call the hotel (using a number you know to be genuine) to confirm they’re expecting you.
Over the past few weeks, Brooklands Radio station has received hundreds of emails trying to sell fakewatches. These are harmless as they are so obvious.
But it is odd that specific scams and spams appear and become very common very quickly then disappear for a period only to reappear in a different guise later on. This is a very common one currently.
Marketing people tell you to vary your sales pitch and try different versions to see what works and these scammers seem to have read those Marketing books.
We received similar emails selling fake watches but with a variety of titles – some nothing to do with watches – just something to make the recipient open the email message.
Titles such as
Impress your co-workers with a fine new watch
Or Rolex doesn’t want you to see our prices
Or Economy uncertain – copy watches are the way to go
Or Diamonds at a steal
Or Green dial submariner at a steal
Or No-one will believe its fake
Or Cheapest luxury items
Or Start off with a new hobby
Or Its dream time for those who cannot afford
Selling fake watches is of course illegal even if you tell people the watches are copies or fakes it’s but presumably big business based on the number of emails being sent out about the watches. Remember that such sales may fund more serious illegal activities.
The email title is “Make it impossible for them to say no – get that degree”.
It goes on about losing out on jobs because you don’t have the right paperwork.
Then comes the pitch
“Get any degree in 5 weeks with our program. Best diplomas in every field of knowledge are now available for your order”.
And they do mean any – Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degrees in any subject.
Then it says “Anyone with professional experience can get these degrees and there are no exams, no study required and no classes to attend”
Is such a degree going to be worth anything – No! Of course not.
It is sad that people feel they can cheat the system like this –that is the people offering these worthless degrees and no doubt some people will take up the offer with maybe good intentions or maybe just laziness.
Interestingly, there is no website to view – you have to phone their answer phone and leave details and apparently they will get back to you.
This is all a con. Worthwhile degrees take a lot of time and hard work to attain. Something so easily attained has no value.
Gerry says I received a spam email the other day – from myself!
Somehow, my email address has been spoofed, and used to send out emails that appear to be from me.
It’s quite scary to receive spam from yourself. I scanned my PC for viruses, but it came up clean. It’s an email address I have had since the dawn of email, so I imagine somewhere along the line, it’s been picked up by some unscrupulous junk emailers. It does make the point, however, that you need to be careful even when an email appears to come from someone you know.
This email was just a one liner, saying click here, and the link appeared to be an advert, although I didn’t look too closely. Is someone you know likely to send you a website link out of the blue, with no explanation? Think twice before clicking.
Why would someone send me emails using my own email address. Because most people have spam filters on their email to weed out the rubbish but if the email is from yourself then it will bypass those filters.
If you receive an email from yourself – then just delete it.