If you’re taking a trip to a new city and plan to use Airbnb then you need to be aware of the scams taking advantage of holidaymakers and how to spot them.
It's easy to see why almost one in five British travellers plan to use Airbnb this summer – this platform offers users so much variety and at big a discount compared to the cost of a hotel. But it’s not just holidaymakers who are taking advantage of Airbnb, scammers are too.
One of the most common scams involves the publishing of a fake listing that offers cheap accommodation. The scammer will ask you for payment by bank transfer, but when you arrive there's either no property at all or the real owner has no idea what you are doing there.
To avoid this type of scam we’d suggest only choosing a property that has been on Airbnb for a number of years and has plenty of glowing reviews - so there's a good chance they’re genuine.
It's also worth doing a reverse image search, by dropping the image from the listing into a Google image search. This will search for similar images, so you can see if the image is attached to any other listings - a sure sign of a fake. You may also see the location of the property, which may not be where you expect.
You should insist on paying through the Airbnb internal payments system too. Never send money direct and never use a bank transfer, no matter what the property owner tells you. The internal system doesn't release the money to the hosts until the day after you move in, so you are protected from losing money, and the scammers know there's nothing to be gained from a scam using this payment method.
For more information about how to stay safe when making a holiday booking, check out the advice from get safe online