It was only a little over a week ago that I alerted you to another in a long line of Airbnb scams. Airbnb is a deservedly popular service that connects homeowners wishing to rent a room or their entire house with vacationers and other travelers in 190 countries around the world. Unfortunately, anything popular with the public is also popular with scammers who have been targeting Airbnb users for a variety of scams. The latest scam occurs when the scammer takes over your Aibnb account and makes non-refundable reservations at a phony listing put up by the scammer. Then, in an effort to cover their tracks a bit longer, the scammer who had taken over your account not only deletes the account and removes the phone number from the cancelled account as well thereby making it much more difficult to deal with Airbnb customer service since they generally require a phone number linked to an account in order to provide assistance.
Airbnb accounts get taken over when someone gains access to your password, which they may do through a multitude of ways. Too often people use the same password for all of their online accounts which puts them in jeopardy at all of their accounts if there is a data breach at one of their accounts and their password becomes available to hackers who often sell this information to other cybercriminals on the Dark Web, that part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services. Another way your password becomes compromised is when you fall prey to a phishing email or a more specifically tailored to you spear phishing email that lures you into either providing your password or convinces you to click on a link tainted with keystroke logging malware that will steal your password from your phone or computer. The key to protecting yourself is to use separate and distinct passwords for all of your accounts and to never provide personal information such as passwords in response to an email or text message unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication asking for your password is legitimate. You also should never click on links or download attachments from emails or text messages unless you have confirmed that the email or text message was legitimate. A good security measure that is used by many, but not all sites is dual factor authentication whereby when you sign on to a particular site using your password, a one-time code is sent to your cell phone that must be used by you in order to complete your access to your account. Thus, a criminal who had your password would not be able to access your account even if he or she had your password unless they also had access to your phone. Until recently, Airbnb did not provide dual factor authentication, but will now if you are logging in from a new device. It is important to sign up for dual factor authentication if you are an Airbnb customer.
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