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The John Jermain Library's Weblog

Community Alert: Vacation Rental Scam

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The following information — extremely relevant to our resort community —  is reprinted  with permission from Cyberheist News, a computer security e-newsletter published by KnowBe4:

The bad guys have found a new way to scam people, and this exploit is something that can be applied to many different situations, so it would be a good idea to warn your users about this. The scam goes like this:

  1. The bad guys go to a Vacation Rentals By Owner site like www.VRBO.com, where people look for, and offer vacation homes. They scrape all email addresses of people offering rentals, and then they attack those email accounts to find the passwords.
  2. They find some passwords and take over these email addresses, then wait for interested parties to respond.
  3. They pretend to be the owner and make the victim wire money to their own account. That money is a 100% loss for the victim and the property owner.

The Rule for Buyers: Never wire money to anyone, don’t ever use a debit card online and ideally never send checks. You are much better protected with a credit card, where you can dispute a fraudulent charge.

The Rule for Sellers: By all means, please use a very strong password that is truly hard to guess or better yet a passphrase. Microsoft has a good page with examples how to do this:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/ Tips-for-creating-strong-passwords-and-passphrases

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me at the library, and I will do my best to answer, or find the answer to any questions you have.

Eric Cohen
Coordinator of Technology and Media
631 725.0049 x237
ericc “at” johnjermain “dot” org

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