The “Fraud of the Century” on the Booking.com platform had to go through a resident of north London – due to a fake ad that was missed by a well-known aggregator, more than 100 tourists arrived at her doorstep almost simultaneously, claiming to have booked and paid for accommodation in this cottage. At the same time, the owner of the property did not even think about renting out her house.
“It started on July 4th, when a poor, tired woman and her daughter, arriving from Hong Kong, knocked on my door saying that they had booked this house. I had to tell them that my house was never rented out. I didn’t know then that this would not end – a few hours later, about three or four more people came, saying that they had booked my house with Booking.com, ”the victim told the BBC. According to her, both British tourists and visitors – Australians, residents of Saudi Arabia, Americans and many others – fell into the bait of a scammer.
In total, as the homeowner explained, before she managed to contact the service and remove the fraudulent ad, and this happened on July 13, i.е. in 10 days, about 100 people knocked on her door. Moreover, some paid for bookings for serious amounts – up to 1'000 pounds.
“I felt very sorry for those tourists knocking on my door – but all I could do was send them away. Of course, I was scared and very afraid that one of them would behave aggressively, ”Gillian added. She also said that the affected tourists claimed that they contacted the service – and he claimed that the address was genuine. The address was indeed indicated correctly, though with completely different photographs.
“Obviously, it was a scam,” the victim sums up. Booking.com said it didn't remove the listing until July 13th, and they said they would contact everyone who booked the house and apologize to them and Gillian. “Fraud is being fought in many industries, and it's a real battle. We have a number of strong security measures in place, but in very rare cases, there may be a problem with a specific address, which we always investigate immediately,” the representatives of the aggregator assured.
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