Historically, it is when the industry in a tailspin (as per the Wall Street Journal) that fraudsters seek to prey on it. This time around is no different as according to fraudtip.com "a well-organized online fraud is scamming over 71,000 travelers each
month as they book rooms online at some of America's best known hotel
chains, including Hyatt, Clarion, TraveLodge, Comfort Inn, Red Roof,
EconoLodge, Super 8, Ramada, Days Inn, and Wyndham".
The report notes that the "scam combines advanced online advertising, bogus hotel locators,
third-party reservation systems, and an Internet browser virus to
redirect hotel guest traffic to fake versions of well-known hotel chain
websites" with the "hardest hit (being) Super 8 Motels, Days Inn, and Ramada". Per the report in Fraudtip, it is estimated that an astounding 50,000 travelers seeking out these hotels are redirected to the bogus sites each month!
A curious and somewhat surprising aspect of the findings of the report is the somewhat confusing demographic of the victims. The report shows that "the fraudulent sites are
attracting a higher-than-average percentage of female visitors, teens,
as well as adults 50+. The scam has also attracted a
higher-than-average percentage of African American visitors, and has
proven effective in attracting an affluent audience, and a high index
of graduates and post graduates".
A separate report, also on Fraudtip.com has, is to industry veterans, a case of deja-vu in terms of fraud. A credit manager, James Balls, at a British hotel in Bradford-on-Avon was busy directing refunds, purportedly for dissatisfied customers, to his own account. While his activities were inappropriate his moniker was not.