Woman left stunned after 100 tourists showed up at her home after ‘booking’ her online
A WOMAN has been left stunned after more than 100 tourists showed up at her home – claiming they had booked it for vacation.
Gillian, who lives in north London, has revealed how a Booking.com scam meant poor holidaymakers thought her house was for rent.
She told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours how it all started on July 4, after a “poor, tired woman and her daughter” who had arrived from Hong Kong knocked on her door, saying they had reserved it.
She was forced to tell them that her house had never been rented – and it then escalated with more people arriving that day.
Gillian said: “A few hours later about three or four people knocked on my door saying they had booked my house with Booking.com.
“They were coming from all over the world: Australians who had just arrived, there were people from Saudi Arabia, people from the north of England, and I couldn’t believe it.”
For the rest of July, another 80 people turned up on his doorstep, with some families paying upwards of £1,000 to stay.
After checking the website for herself, she discovered her address was listed, but photos had been used from an entirely different property.
Some of the guests said they even called Booking.com before they arrived to confirm it was genuine.
Gillian continued: “It was obviously a scam, and someone had used my address.
“I felt so sorry for those tourists knocking on my door – all I could do was send them away.”
Gillian also said that while she felt bad for the tourists, she felt “very vulnerable” in case other guests became more aggressive.
Booking.com said it removed the listing on July 13 and would be in touch with everyone who booked it, as well as apologizing to them and Gillian.
A Booking.com spokesperson said: “We take safety and security very seriously, and every week we facilitate millions of stays, the vast majority of which are trouble-free.
“Scams are unfortunately a battle that many industries face against unscrupulous fraudsters looking to profit from them and it is something we are attacking head-on.
“We have a number of robust security measures in place, but in very rare cases there may be an issue with a specific property, we always investigate immediately.”
There are plenty of scams Brits have been warned about this summer.
In Spain, a new bird poo scam has taken tourists by surprise while a number of tourists in Greece have been trapped by a very expensive restaurant scam.
And a man said he was nearly charged with broken furniture after booking accommodation in a fake scam.