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Airbnb issues consumer warning about scams

Short lets platform Airbnb - increasingly used by landlords acting as hosts - has issued a warning to consumer users about potential online fraud.

A survey by the platform shows that almost three quarters of adults admit that they or someone they know has been a victim of fraud or a scam, with research suggesting that victims of holiday scams lose an average of £1,397 each. 

Men more confident than women of not falling for scams; however, as a result they lose twice as much money.


Now Airbnb, working with Get Safe Online, has shared guidance to help ensure users stay safe when booking and says that in general…

- Never click on links that you’re not expecting – Learn how to spot fake emails, websites, texts, and social media posts as bogus links may take you to a fake website designed to look like websites you are familiar with;

- Be wary of unusually cheap deals or high deposits – If a deal or offer seems too good to be true, it could be a scammer and it’s best to end all communication immediately;

- If you can, pay by credit card and avoid making bank transfers – Paying by credit card often offers better protection, and a higher chance of getting your money back. 

And when using Airbnb specifically…

- Stay on Airbnb to book, pay and communicate – Stays should always be booked and paid for on-platform only to take advantage of Airbnb’s secure processes, refund, and support policies. If anyone asks you to go off-platform, you should report it to Airbnb;

- Check out the reviews from other guests – You can see what other guests have said, read the profiles of Hosts and listings, and contact the Host via Airbnb’s messaging tool to ask any questions before booking;

- Check the site link – Before paying online or providing any confidential details, use the Airbnb app or go directly to the website (www.airbnb.co.uk);

- Report issues immediately – Airbnb’s Community Support team is on hand 24/7 to assist and if you think you’ve been scammed, get in touch with your bank as they may be able to recover your money.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, says: “As the cost of living rises, we want to help protect everyone’s hard-earned cash and urge people to stay alert when it comes to booking a holiday. Trust your instincts and remember, if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.” 


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