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Airbnb scam leaves Fakenham group £800 out-of-pocket

A screenshot of the listing on Airbnb which has now been removed. Photo: Airbnb/screenshot

A screenshot of the listing on Airbnb which has now been removed. Photo: Airbnb/screenshot

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A weekend away to Amsterdam has left one group from Fakenham hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket after they fell victim to a scam on a booking website.

A screenshot of the listing on Airbnb which has now been removed. Photo: Airbnb/screenshot A screenshot of the listing on Airbnb which has now been removed. Photo: Airbnb/screenshot

Will Dunger and his seven friends thought they had booked and paid for an apartment on website Airbnb in the centre of the Dutch capital for their trip this September.

They contacted the host of the apartment called “Karen” and then received an email from what appeared to be Airbnb asking for payment through a bank transfer.

But after paying the £765 they did not receive any confirmation of their booking and the accommodation listing disappeared from the website.

When they contacted Airbnb, they were told the company would never ask for a bank transfer - they had fallen for a scam listing.

The tourists thought they had booked an apartment in the centre of Amsterdam. Photo: AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares The tourists thought they had booked an apartment in the centre of Amsterdam. Photo: AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares

Mr Dunger, 21, said: “There were photos and a full description but as soon as we booked the apartment the listing came off the website.

“Within hours it was back on with the same description and pictures.”

Mr Dunger reported the listing to Airbnb and told them it was still appearing on their website under a different username.

“We should have been a bit more careful but this is something they allowed on their website,” he said.

The email they received asking them for payment had the Airbnb logo on it and was sent from an address called booking@pay-airbnb.com.

The email even reassured Mr Dunger that his payment was safe, stating the money would be held by Airbnb and not given to the host until after they checked in.

Airbnb said they would never ask customers to wire money.

“Airbnb protects hosts and guests by handling all payment and communication through our secure platform,” a spokesperson said. “When you keep your details secure and payment and communication strictly on the Airbnb platform, payments are accurate and your account is secure. It’s one of the reasons that so many hosts and guests book through Airbnb.”

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