Of course the vast majority of reservation requests you receive are legitimate. However, also in our business we see scams. How they might work:
  • you receive a request and once you accept, the criminals offer to send you the full amount by cheque
  • once you receive the cheque, you may be able to have the money transferred to your bank account
  • then the 'guest' will either shorten their stay or even cancel the entire stay
  • after you refund the full amount or part of it, the cheque may prove false and the transfer to your bank account is reversed
  • you end up with the damages

How you recognize such a scam:
  • the request is usually made for several rooms
  • alarm clocks should ring when a message is sent to 'undisclosed recipients' instead of your email address
  • the scammers often pose as construction companies, church organizations, trying to make it look 'official'
  • the request is usually very general 'accommodation in your city' or 'in your country'
  • they offer to pay the full amount in advance by cheque
  • sometimes they ask for alternative periods should you be booked for the period initially requested
  • email addresses are almost invariably from large email services like gmail, yahoo or msn

To avoid being trapped:
  • stick to your own policies and payment methods
  • ensure payments made are legitimate
  • never refund until you have made sure that payments you received are non reversible