Airbnb issues travel scam warning to UK travellers as Brits lose £1.4k on average
Airbnb has issued a travel scam warning to Brits booking their holidays this year.
The global home rent company has commissioned new research to analyse the impact of the cost of living crisis on our holidays and scams by fraudsters.
Since January is the most popular month for us to book our breaks, Brits up and down the country are likely on the hunt for a bargain.
Despite the current strain on our finances, the Airbnb data reveals that 35% of us would still consider going on holiday a priority when it comes to our extra spending.
In fact, one in six of us would consider booking trips using unsafe methods to save some cash.
6% of adults are willing to book impulsively as soon as they see the price if it means paying less and 15% would pay for the break by bank transfer – where their money is not protected – to save a penny or two.
Getting caught out by travel scammers is not a rare occurrence either as Airbnb discovered.
71% of people admitted 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.
Those aged 55 and over lost the most to scams on average (£3,176) with 18-34-year-olds losing £1,330 on average.
78% of respondents from Airbnb’s study agree that there are more scams than ever before.
Meanwhile, 70% of people agreed that scams are becoming more convincing.
Airbnb shared four safety tips to avoid scammers on platform
If you’re booking a stay on Airbnb in the near future, arm yourself with these four handy tips to help you avoid being scammed:
- 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.
Amanda Cupples, General Manager for the UK and Northern Europe, Airbnb: “This year, many of us may be eager to save some pennies when booking a holiday, making it an ideal time for scammers to take advantage of those looking to find a good deal.
“Booking, communicating and paying on Airbnb helps to protect you against scams, and our long-standing partnership with Get Safe Online will help travellers stay alert when planning a well-deserved trip.”
If you are booking on a different site, Airbnb’s partner Get Safe Online, has also shared some top tips to be aware of when booking your holiday.
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Get Safe Online’s guidance to booking your holiday
Here are three top tips you should know about when booking your holiday this year to help you not get caught out:
- 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.
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online: “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.”