Checkaco Consumer Scam Alert News: it’s so easy to fall for a holiday scam – just like this woman did thinking she was on the Airbnb site

Checkaco Consumer Scam Alert News: it’s so easy to fall for a holiday scam – just like this woman did thinking she was on the Airbnb site

By Harry Mottram: The average loss by a holiday maker in a scam is an eye-watering £1,851 say the Police scam buster group Action Fraud. That’s around £12.3 million pounds a year – and rising as criminals get even more ingenious in tricking the general public despite our growing awareness of online scammers.

Action Fraud reported that last year, 6,640 reports were made to them with July and August having the highest number of reports made, at 804 and 781 respectively. These three stories are typical of the victims – which could be you and me as they were not gullible they simply conned.

The first case is the story of a girls’ holiday for ten friends reported by Josh Layton in The Metro newspaper. They paid £3,000 for an Airbnb villa ‘that never existed’ – and for those who regularly use the holiday app that offers apartments and homes across the world may be alarmed to know that scammers can mirror their website so convincingly you believe you are dealing with the real Airbnb.

In his article Josh Layton related how Hannah Jones and her friends had clubbed together for a holiday in Ibiza before being defrauded in a scam targeting Airbnb users. He wrote: “A charity worker and her friends were scammed out of £3,000 when she tried to book a chic villa in Ibiza via Airbnb. Hannah Jones fell victim to a fraud where the perpetrator dupes the customer into making a payment away from the travel platform.”

She told that Airbnb has been ‘absolutely useless’ and denied her a refund or compensation despite the initial bogus listing for the 10-bedroom property and outdoor pool being advertised on its site. Once she had paid for the holiday communication with the scammer ended and the bogus website disappeared along with the 31 glowing reviews.

She said: “I found the listing on Airbnb and in the description it said to contact the host directly for more information about availability. ‘I’ve used Airbnb before and that’s quite a normal thing to do. I swapped emails with the host and they replied with a booking link, which it turns out was to a fake page replicating the Airbnb website. It looked exactly the same but it had been recreated, even the links at the bottom went to the Airbnb home page. There was nothing to make you think there was anything out of the ordinary.”

Airbnb refused to accept any responsibility and would not pay her a refund.

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