While Germany, Spain and Greece were popular vacation destinations in 2018, bookings for North Africa and Turkey are on the rise this year. No matter where to: more and more trips are not booked through a travel agency, but by tourists themselves on online travel platforms. In Germany, 40 percent of bookings already in 2017 – trend rising. The Internet is changing the travel market. And not only for the better. Dubious providers using fake online travel portals to offer flights and airlines that do not even exist. Or, tourists unwillingly pay additional fees, some of which exceed the travel price, because the online travel portal is not transparent.
Nothing and nobody seems immune to cybercrime. Even worldwide known online travel platforms for accommodations or travel services are not spared. The online housing agency seems to be particularly popular with credit card fraudsters. They use real estate owners who want to earn money and pretend to offer their place to rent. The money launder pays with his dirty money, the owner sends back most of it. Even the online service earns 5 to 15 percent of the total sum.
A similar strategy is used to launder money with rideshare. There, money is paid for never used “ghost rides”. If several drivers take part, a few hundred euros will sum up quickly. This so-called transaction or micro money laundering primarily yields between 50 and 2000 euros. Small amounts add up quickly, especially if the fraud lasts long and is carried out with enough participants. It is estimated that in the US alone, more than $200 billion is “washed white” every year through such e-commerce activities.
Especially, because the individual amounts are not conspicuously high, they are difficult to detect. It takes smart technical solutions to combat this form of cybercrime. Right from the beginning of an e-commerce transaction, it must be ensured that fraudsters are identified and excluded from further business. Only then can those counterfeit deals be controlled with “virtual goods”.