Global spending on business travel is expected to hit $1.7tn by 2021, according to a recent report from the Global Business Travel Association. That’s despite the growing popularity of video conferencing, or ‘virtual meetings’, in recent years.

Online rental platforms have given business travellers more choice when it comes to booking accommodation, and often provide cheaper alternatives to hotels, which is good news for companies looking to cut their travel expense.

However, despite the seemingly secure nature of such websites, online fraudsters are increasingly using them to create fake property listings, scamming companies out of millions and leaving business travellers with nowhere to stay when arriving at their destination. Aside from the stress this can cause to travellers, it is also putting many companies in financial distress.

Experienced fraudsters use sophisticated tactics to trick businesses into thinking they are legitimate operators, including professional property photographs, which are often stolen from a genuine listing, and convincing email correspondence.

Fraudulent operators will usually ask for payment via wire transfer – directing travellers away from a rental platform’s secure payment system – and stop replying to emails and phone calls once the money is paid. In some cases, a traveller won’t even know they’ve been conned until they arrive at the property, only to find that it doesn’t exist or is already occupied.

Protect Your Business From Rental Fraud

Whether you need an apartment for one night or multiple accommodations for a week-long conference, I-PRAC can give you the peace of mind to book with confidence.

I-PRAC is a verification service that accredits legitimate property owners and rental agencies around the world. All I-PRAC members pay to be approved and are thoroughly vetted by our team of experts, a process that can take up to three weeks.

Once approved by I-PRAC, property owners are given an ‘I-PRAC Approved’ logo and unique ID, which you can find on their website and marketing material. Using the unique ID, you can find the member on I-PRAC’s website and verify that their details match up with the person or company that you’re booking with.

I-PRAC can also check any operators that aren’t yet approved, free of charge. Businesses just need to provide the details of the property they’re looking to rent, and I-PRAC will let you know whether it is safe to book within 48 hours.

All bookings registered with I-PRAC are 100% insured against rental fraud, so businesses will never be out of pocket in the unlikely event that an I-PRAC member engages in fraudulent activity. I-PRAC will also help you find alternative accommodation if rental fraud occurs.