Woman lost £3,000 to a scammer on Airbnb despite checking reviews

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Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK & Ireland at Visa told FEMAIL: ‘As we’re all spending more time online, it’s good to be aware of what we can do to keep ourselves safe. Our new study demonstrates how it can be hard to spot the signs of fraud in emails, texts and messages. 

‘That’s why we’re raising awareness of ‘Fraudulese’ and sharing our top tips for spotting the signs, so everyone has the tools to avoid falling victim. When it comes to paying with Visa, you can feel confident you are paying safely and securely, as Visa’s Zero Liability Policy* means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorised or fraudulent charges made with your account. ‘ 

1. Spell-check messages – inconsistencies in the language used in a message, such as errors in grammar and spelling, or differences between the sender’s name and the URL link provided, could indicate it’s fraud. If you receive a message from a company or individual out of the blue, be vigilant in checking for these errors.

2. Be cautious of urgent actions – language encouraging you to take urgent action is a common tactic used in bogus communications. Look out for phrases like ‘send (…) here’ or ‘click (…) below’, or undated timeframes such as ‘in 48 hours’ or ‘by tomorrow morning’. Always take the time to consider whether the message is genuine. If you think it’s fake, it’s important not to click on any links to avoid compromising your personal information.

3. Watch out for suspicious asks – fraudsters often entice you by either highlighting a problem (e.g., asking you to rearrange a delivery) or making a tempting offer (e.g., suggesting you have won a prize). 

Think about your recent dealings with that organisation or individual. If you don’t recognise the problem you’re being asked to resolve or the offer they’re trying to get you to react to, it might be fraud. If you’re unsure, don’t click on any links or contact the sender in any way.

4. Validate they are who they say they are – fraudsters often work hard to convince you of their credibility, sometimes using words and phrases that you might find in genuine communications. 

It can be hard to tell the difference, so if you are unsure, you can check by using a different form of communication to the one they have used to reach you. For example, if you get a text asking for bank information, try emailing or web chatting the company directly to check if it’s a true request.

5. Check the message with someone you trust – people can be great at understanding language and communication in social contexts. It may sound obvious, but if you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a message, it can help to discuss it with someone you trust.  

They may have also received a similar message and might be able to help advise on the best course of action to take. Sharing your experience might save someone else from falling victim too.

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