As the sharing economy grows, fraudsters look to capitalise on the new market

by Simon Kelman

First things first, what is the sharing economy? The sharing or “gig” economy is where services or goods are sold or shared between private individuals like you and me, rather than companies and these transactions are normally instigated online.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, how are fraudsters taking advantage of this growth market?

The sharing economy has grown exponentially in the last few years with instantly recognisable brands such as such as Airbnb, Uber and Facebook Marketplace all having attracted millions of consumers. Great for the consumer, but also great for the  fraudsters  seizeing the opportunity to make a quick buck of the back of the sharing economy. Reports show that in 2016 reports of AirBnB scams tripled in numbers according to The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) who are one of the first bodies to investigate the growth in fraudsters in the sharing economy. 

Holiday Scams

Hear at HooYu we often hear of scam attempts, one of the most prevalent is the home-sharing scam, which involves fake listings and aggressive tactics to get people to part with money before arriving for their stay without going through the protected site such as AirBnB.

The fraudster will insist on communicating directly by phone or email and will either direct people to another site to complete the booking process, or request the money to be wired to them directly. In an ideal world nobody would fall for this, but you'd be wrong. Tempted by a better deal than they are finding elsewhere people are willing to overlook the risks and ditch their protection for a deal.

The same is true for those people looking for a good deal when using an online marketplace to buy goods, the desire to score a bargain means people are more likely to take risks. The Facebook Marketplace is a great way to get rid of your old junk and make a few bucks or to pick up awesome finds at discounted price. Whilst Facebook has changed how we interact and consume media and news, it is also changing how we sell, with Facebook Market Place. Unfortunately, there are people out there ready and willing to cheat and con you, as the famous saying goes, “on the internet nobody knows you’re a dog”. 

And now for the good news! As the sharing economy grows so do the solutions that help protect you from fraudsters, HooYu provides Joe Public with the same identity check technology as used by high street banks and clever online businesses. Individuals can check another person’s identity before they proceed with any sort of online transaction without sharing any personal information.

HooYu is offering individuals the opportunity to verify an identity for free during Fraud Awareness Week, contact us here

Simon Kelman