Here at Owners Direct we work hard to create a secure marketplace for the holiday rental industry. That means staying on top of the latest scams, which criminals are using to access private information and providing solutions to help protect owners from being targeted. Phishing is a serious problem on the internet in general and is a particular threat to holiday rental owners.
What is “Phishing”?
Phishing is a common form of online identity theft, and it occurs when a criminal is able to capture someone's email address and password and access their inbox. Criminals are then able to intercept enquiries from holidaymakers and request reservation payments without their knowledge. Holidaymakers can lose money and owners and property managers can lose bookings.
What is Owners Direct doing to help?
Messages from holidaymakers and your responses to those messages go through our private system. This helps protect you and your potential guests from phishing and identity theft by removing any mention of your email address in the communication.
Your enquiries and responses to those enquiries come from an anonymous HomeAway address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can still email back and forth with your guests from your personal email account or from your owner dashboard. Your email address is removed from these messages to protect you from phishers who send enquiries just to get a response from you, at which time they “steal” the email address and start communicating with holidaymakers in an attempt to have them send payments. In addition, email addresses included in the conversation/open text areas on the page will be removed and be replaced with ------------@-.--
In order to see the holidaymaker’s email address you need to visit the "Enquiries" tab within your OwnersDirect.co.uk dashboard. In your dashboard, you also have the added bonus of being able to review conversation histories between you and your guests.
*This feature is not yet available to all customers, but it will be soon. We will keep you informed.
What happens if I don’t use OwnersDirect.co.uk’s system for communicating with guests?
We do not recommend sharing your email address with holidaymakers, as the conversation will no longer be protected. If you copy and paste the email address into a new email using your email provider, any online criminal who has phished your account can see it and begin to intercept communications.
Is it more secure if I use my OwnersDirect.co.uk dashboard?
All communications in your dashboard are more secure because they are behind a login. It’s also fine to use your personal email, as long as the email enquiries and responses have come through our secure system and have an anonymous email address.
Will OwnersDirect.co.uk be monitoring my conversations?
OwnersDirect.co.uk uses technology similar to spam filtering to monitor for suspicious patterns, viruses, malicious software and spam to help reduce phishing and spam enquiries but it is not reading your communication.
If you are suspicious of an enquiry you’ve received, please call +44 (0) 208 827 1998, 24hrs a day - 7 days a week, to report your concern.