Planning vacations? Follow these tips to avoid being hired online


Reading time 5 minutes

The holidays are coming and an avalanche of users try to find the best last minute prices on the internet to spend a few days off. That is why at this time cybercriminals make their particular August, since people in a hurry in search of online bargains are one of their favorite targets.

Every summer, the authorities report thousands of these scams related to the purchase of flights, accommodations and vacation packages, so it is advisable to remain calm and be more careful when releasing a click.

This does not mean that all good internet prices are cheating, but if we follow a series of steps before hiring an offer we can detect if there is a cat locked up or, at least, be more protected if they deceive us. Because if we fall into a fraud of this kind, not everything is lost: if we have been forecasters we can react on time and enjoy our deserved summer .

Detrás de una buena oferta se puede esconder un estafador: sospecha SIEMPRE

Behind a good offer you can hide a scammer: always suspect © Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash


Discounts of 50% or even 70% or vacation packages at ridiculous prices (and in high season) attract the attention of any Internet user. So the first thing you should do when you think something is too good to be true is to distrust .

In Spain, according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), this type of fraud is usually concentrated in homes in the coastal area, where scammers find more rapid mouse victims through the Network.

Cybercriminals set up pretty credible traps, of apartments that really exist but whose photos have been stolen from other rental sites . That is to say, we can find the same apartment advertised on Airbnb and Thousand Ads, only that one of them may be usurping the identity of the real tenant to ask for money for nothing.

Si es demasiado bueno: SOSPECHA

If it's too good: SUSPECT © Pexels

Therefore, one of the most common scenes of these scams is that of the victims arriving at this supposed reserved apartment that is occupied by other tenants and, when the owner is asked, he shrugs and reveals that he has not put any offer on that page

It is a sophisticated deception method, since the client feels safe having found the offer on a website with https protocol and when verifying that the apartment is real, via Google Maps .

But far from it is an infallible fraud, since we can discover the trap in other ways, whether we suspect it or not. To this day it is convenient to put on the detective's cap and do a small search before booking an accommodation. The first thing is to check the offer of the area a bit and, if we see that the price is suspiciously attractive, it will be necessary to investigate whether everything is in order.

One of the clues that reveals that a scammer is behind an ad is to avoid contact at all costs by phone and ask that everything be done online, including the payment of a signal. Payment in advance is the cybercriminals' favorite modus operandi : the scammer offers some benefit to the victim in exchange for transferring the money to the margin of the platform where the home is advertised. If we get out of the official channels, we have all to lose.

El pago por adelantado es el modus operandi favorito de los ciberdelincuentes

Prepayment is the favorite modus operandi of cybercriminals © Pexels

The problem is that, many times, the scammer sends an email or a link that, a priori, seems from the real platform or from another trusted site. These messages are intended to or deceive the victim by requesting confidential information, such as passwords or other email addresses.

Thus, we should not suspect only tenants who ask us for money in advance to a certain account, but also suspicious emails, since in this way they can introduce us to malware that accesses the computer to obtain confidential information.


Once we have decided on a certain accommodation or vacation contract, we must do things correctly and then have the proper defense tools before a scam.

When we hire an individual's apartment through the internet, we expose ourselves to risks that do not exist when we book at a hotel establishment. Thus, before establishing online contact with the owner, we should ask for a copy of your ID, the rental agreement and the simple note, where the owners, meters, charges, etc. are officially registered.

We can also check if the property is actually registered as a tourist rental in the autonomous community to which we travel. For example, in Barcelona you can do it through this website .

Saca tu lupa de Colombo

Get your magnifying glass out of Colombo © Photo by João Silas on Unsplash

Sometimes, fraud is caused by not having read the fine print correctly, that is, the conditions of the page or the company. Thus, it may happen that within a few days of the trip we will see that the price of our reservation has risen .

This is a small trap that can be denounced, since the prices established by contracts cannot be reviewed, unless explicitly stated in the conditions.

In addition, it is only justifiable when the price of fuel or the rates and taxes of any service we have contracted vary . Of course, this price review must be carried out in advance and, if it occurs within 20 days prior to the date of travel, the situation can be reported.

Mujer observando por la ventana

Your peace of mind is well worth a previous investigation © Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

It is also very important to make payments by one of the secure means that the platform proposes. In this way, we can leave a trace of the payment: card, Paypal or bank transfer . In the latter case, you must always check that the account holder is the same as the owner of the house that is rented .

In short, we should have all kinds of information that supports our complaint, from bank receipt to emails, either by making screenshots or printing on paper. In this way, if they deceive us, we can file a documented complaint with the National Police or the Civil Guard.

Because prevention is always better than cure, but if someone tries to make our holidays bitter, at least we have all of the law to save our precious days of rest.