What are Booking.com Scams and How To Avoid Them Safely



The Insider @ Houst
Last updated on
June 20, 2024

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What are Booking.com Scams and How To Avoid Them Safely

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Booking.com is a leading booking platform for both vacation rental owners and guests. Unfortunately, its popularity also attracts fraudsters who exploit its extranet to access personal details such as booking dates and bank card numbers.

Similar to any online transaction, there are essential best practices for hosts and guests to adhere to. In this blog, we’ll see how you can reduce the risk of falling victim to Booking.com scams and what steps to take if you notice any suspicious activity.

So, let’s get started! 

Table of Contents

What Are Phishing Scams?

Phishing is a cyber-attack in which scammers try to impersonate individuals or businesses to illegally obtain personal data or money. 

Unfortunately, phishing is quite common and affects the travel industry too.

Cybercriminals target Booking.com's guests and accommodation partners. They use methods like phone calls, text messages, or fake emails to steal reservation details, personal information of guests and staff, and credit card numbers.

Common Booking.com Scams

Here are some signs that can indicate potential scams on Booking.com. Hosts need to be aware of these common threats to protect themselves from possible fraud.

  1. Phishing Emails

Remember to be careful with any emails that ask for personal or financial information. Even if the emails seem real, they could trick you into sharing sensitive details. Always watch out for unexpected emails that ask for this kind of information.

Scammers send fake emails pretending to be Booking.com, trying to trick people into giving away personal information. 

  1. Overpayment Scams

One common scam involves guests sending more money than the required booking amount. Hosts must know this red flag to avoid becoming victims of fraudulent transactions that could lead to financial losses.

The excess payment is often not accidental but a deliberate tactic by the scammer. The guest might claim they made a mistake or provide a seemingly reasonable explanation for the overpayment. However, their main objective is to secure refunds or initiate chargebacks for the extra money they sent.

  1. Non-standard Payment Methods

While most guests use standard payment methods like credit cards or online payments, hosts should be cautious if they receive requests for unconventional payment methods.

Some scammers might use cryptocurrency or wire transfers to make tracing and recovering funds harder in case of disputes or fraud. So, it's important to stay vigilant and consider the risks when someone asks for non-traditional payment methods.

  1. Unconfirmed or Suspicious Profiles

Hosts on platforms like Booking.com need to have the right guest information to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience. Property managers need to be careful and watch out for any signs that something might not be quite right with the guest information they receive. 

Suspicious profiles often have incomplete or unclear details about the guests, like their names, contact information, or verifiable credentials. Scammers use these gaps to trick hosts and cause problems, like financial losses or disruptions to their business operations.

  1. Last-Minute Cancellations

A major concern for hosts is the pattern of last-minute cancellations, especially when they come from the same guest or involve a series of bookings with short notice followed by cancellations. While some last-minute cancellations are genuine due to unforeseen events, frequent instances should be viewed with caution.

Fraudsters may book accommodation and cancel at the last minute for various reasons. However, their main goal is typically to obtain a refund.

  1. Encouraging Communication Outside the Platform

It's essential for hosts to keep communication within a trusted booking platform to uphold transparency, security, and accountability. However, hosts may encounter guests who attempt to divert communication off-platform. These guests might insist on using personal email addresses, phone numbers, or messaging apps to communicate with hosts. Their intention could be to evade detection by moving communication away from the secure environment of the booking platform.

How to Avoid Booking.com Scams 

Other than reporting it to Booking.com immediately, users should also take the following steps to protect themselves:

Reset Your Passwords

If you think your device might have picked up some malware, it's smart to change your passwords right away. This means changing your email password first, then your Booking.com password.

Even if everything seems fine, it’s a good idea to update your passwords regularly. Try making it a habit to do this whenever you update your property listing or at regular intervals.

Use a Malware Scanner

Fraudsters aren’t just interested in your passwords; they might also try to sneak a malicious file onto your smartphone, laptop, or computer. It’s a good idea to regularly scan these devices with an updated malware scanner, especially if you’ve clicked on a suspicious link or downloaded unfamiliar files.

Regular Communication with Guests

Maintaining consistent and dependable communication channels with guests is crucial once their booking is confirmed. Stay in touch with them before and throughout their stay. This not only allows you to address any concerns promptly but also establishes open communication that can deter potential scammers.

Use Booking.com’s Messaging System

Opting for Booking.com’s messaging system as your main communication tool is a wise choice. It ensures you maintain comprehensive and readily accessible records of all interactions with guests. These records can be invaluable evidence in case of any disputes or misunderstandings, offering crucial protection for both hosts and guests.

Avoid Non-standard Payment Methods

To safeguard against potential scams, avoid non-standard payment methods. Stick to Booking.com’s approved payment methods, which provide some protection in case of disputes. Be cautious if guests request alternative payment methods like prepaid gift cards or cryptocurrency, as these are frequently linked to fraudulent activities.

Review Your Listing 

Regularly review your property listings and security procedures to pinpoint any potential vulnerabilities that fraudsters could exploit. Conduct a thorough assessment and promptly address any gaps by enhancing your property's security systems and screening procedures. 

Trust Your Gut Feelings 

If something doesn’t feel quite right or seems too good to be true, it’s important to take precautions and be ready to cancel your booking. Often, your gut feeling can be your first line of defence against potential scams.


If you think something fishy is going on with a Booking.com booking, contact partner support right away. You can reach out to them through the platform's support channel or give them a call. Make sure to give them all the details about what's making you suspicious.

Booking.com and similar platforms have made booking easier, but they've also become targets for scammers. Look out for signs like urgent language, spelling mistakes, and fake sender addresses to spot a Booking.com scam.

To avoid scams and streamline the process, consider hiring property managers like Houst.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider @ Houst

The Insider team at Houst is dedicated to providing up-to-date and relevant information on short-term rentals. If you have hosting inquiries, please write to us at expert@houst.com. For guest inquiries, reach out at guest@houst.com. We are here to help you navigate the world of short lets and look forward to assisting you with your needs.

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