Dozens of holidaymakers turn up at London home after Booking.com travel scam

A London resident has been left shocked after multiple people turned up at her home claiming to have rented it out on Booking.com.

Gillian, from North London, first answered to someone on July 4 who claimed to have booked the house as accommodation for a holiday.

After being sent away Gillian thought there was a mistake, but over the next month around 100 more people and groups turned up at her front door.

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All of the holidaymakers claimed to have booked her address on the rental accommodation website.

Many had flown in from exotic destinations as far as Australia.

Speaking to Shari Vahl, a reporter for BBC Radio 4 on the show You and Yours, Gillian said: “Someone knocked on my door. I opened it and it was this poor, very tired woman, presumably from Hong Kong, her daughter at the end of the gate, with hundreds of cases, it seemed to me, obviously just come from the airport.

“They said they’d booked my house with Booking.com. I said, ‘No you haven’t, because it’s not on Booking.com’. I’ve never let this house.

“She looked aghast and I said, ‘You’ll just have to go back to them. I’m sorry, there’s some misunderstanding’.”

But, just hours later yet more hopeful tourists called at the house.

Gillian said: “A few hours later I had about three or four people visiting knocking on my door saying they’d booked my house with Booking.com.

“They came from all over the world: Australians who’d just arrived, there were some people from Saudi Arabia, some people from the north of England, and I just couldn’t believe it.”

Apparently, one worried guest called the website that morning to ask about their stay and was told that the reservation was secure and the property genuine.

Gillian eventually found the listing for her address on the site but the photos were of a different house in Chelsea.

The images had been taken from a separate website.

Gillian felt worried about the situation and sorry to send the tourists away – but found it terrifying.

She explained: “It was obviously a scam, and someone had used my address.

“They’re very nice people, but perhaps one day we might get some people knocking on the door who actually are quite aggressive. I feel very vulnerable.”

While Gillian reported the issue the next day, 80 more holidaymakers arrived by July 29.

One Californian family had shelled out £1,100 for their booking.

The listing was removed on July 13 with Booking.com saying anyone affected by them would be contacted.

But, even as late as July 29, a mum and daughter arrived from Portsmouth claiming to have booked the property while they went to see a Lady Gaga show.

The mother said: “I started looking around for somewhere to stay [and] found this flat on Booking.com.

“I won’t use them again, ever.”

Have you been affected by a similar scam recently? Tell us at [email protected]

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A spokesperson from Booking.com told the Daily Star: “We take safety and security very seriously, and every week, we facilitate millions of stays with the vast majority taking place with absolutely no problems.

"Scams are unfortunately a battle many industries are facing against unscrupulous fraudsters looking to take advantage and it is something we are tackling head on.

"We have a number of robust security measures in place, but in the very rare instance there may be an issue with a specific property we always investigate immediately.

"We can confirm this property has been completely removed from our site and all customers are being offered support in relating to refunds, relocations and additional fees, as well as of course extending our apologies to the homeowner.”

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