June 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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Warning: Scammers are hijacking chats in the Booking.com app


FishingWarning: Scammers are hijacking chats in the Booking.com app

The message comes directly from the Booking.com app, so it seems reliable: fraudsters have tricked various hotels and hijacked their chats.

Daniel Graf
  • Fraudsters were able to access the Booking.com accounts of several hotels.

  • Criminals use these accounts to send messages to hotel guests asking them to update their payment details. Otherwise the hotel stay will be cancelled.

  • 32-year-old news scout G.* also received such a message, but discovered the fraud attempt in time.

News Scout G.* (32) has been looking forward to a ten-day holiday in Alsace for weeks. Vacations are in, hotels are booked and paid for. Then an unpleasant surprise came on Wednesday: he received a message from his hotel in Colmar through the Booking.com app: “Invalid card. We deeply regret this situation. Follow the link and update your information to continue to ensure your security. If you ignore this message, we may have to cancel your reservation.”

“Of course I was a little shocked at first and wanted to clarify immediately what was wrong with my card. In the end, cancellation would have been the worst case scenario. Then I would have to look for a new hotel in the middle of high season and definitely pay more,” says G. As there have been several reports of fraud attempts recently, he became suspicious. “So I wrote to the hotel first about what was wrong with my card. After all, the hotel had already been paid.

Booking Confirms: Some customers have been affected by fraud

Shortly after, the hotel contacted us and apologized for the inconvenience. “You talked about “technical issues” with the booking. A few hours later, a message was sent again with a link to re-enter my credit card details. I was very confused,” says G.

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The hotel first sent a message to confirm the payment method.  A day later, it was

The hotel first sent a message to confirm the payment method. A day later, it reported “technical problems” and clarified that it was “spam”.


A 20-minute query to Booking.com clarifies: “Some of our accommodation partners have unfortunately been affected by highly convincing phishing emails sent by professional cybercriminals with the intention of taking over accommodation’s local computer systems with malware.” Media Office. “In some cases, this resulted in unauthorized access to the property’s Booking.com account, allowing fraudsters to temporarily impersonate the property and communicate with guests via chat.” News scout G.’s accommodation was also affected.

Never send payment details via email, chat, SMS, WhatsApp or phone

Booking did not say how many accommodations were affected. “The actual number of properties affected by this fraud represents only a fraction of the properties on our site.” The effects could be “significantly limited” by “various measures”.

G. for his approval of the attempted fraud and for not providing credit card details. Of course he is happy. “Such damage is probably even covered by insurance. But I would have had my card blocked and had to file a complaint, which would have taken a lot of effort.

The booking site itself says: “If customers are ever concerned about a payment message, we recommend that they carefully review the payment policies on the property’s Booking.com page and in the booking confirmation, or contact our customer service.” Customers will never be asked to share payment information via email, chat, SMS, Whatsapp or phone.

*Know the teacher’s name

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