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Holidaymaker duped in Gibraltar short-let scam

Photo by Eyleen Gomez.

A foreign national was duped into paying £1,333 for an ‘Airbnb’ property in Devil’s Gap for an August short-let.

The incident was reported to the Royal Gibraltar Police over the weekend, after the victim had paid out the funds for what they thought was an Airbnb property.

“After paying this amount, he received a response from ‘Airbnb support’, stating that his money was going to be automatically refunded and that he needed to make the payment again in order to secure the booking,” an RGP spokesman said.

“After the money was not refunded, he became suspicious and attempted to contact the owner, who has since not responded. Enquiries are ongoing.”

The spokesman called this type of scam rare in Gibraltar, but advised there are some measures that the public can take to help avoid becoming a victim of an online scam such as this.

“The most important tip would be to only use the Airbnb app or go directly to the website ( before you search or book a stay,” the spokesman said.

“Secondly, beware fake emails, websites, texts, and social media posts. Never click on links that you’re not expecting.”

“These types of communications, which may have an urgent tone, can take you to seemingly authentic but fake websites, designed to either capture your personal information or infect your device with malicious software.”

He added if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“If you find accommodation on a third-party website like a social media platform – especially if the deal or offer seems too good to be true – it could be a scammer,” the spokesman said.

“They may encourage you to pay via a direct method like a bank transfer, or through a fake website designed to look like Airbnb, and you should end all communication if this happens.”

“Airbnb doesn’t manage bookings or facilitate payments for accommodations not found on its platform.”

The spokesman added that holidaymakers should only communicate, book, and pay on the Airbnb platform.

“This will help ensure you’re protected by Airbnb’s secure processes, refund, and support policies as well as other safeguards,” he said.

“Airbnb stays should be booked and paid for on-platform only, and if anyone asks you to go off-platform, you should report it to Airbnb right away.”

“Don’t rush in and take time to carefully review the details: Scammers may try to pressure you to book quickly.”

“Before you book a place to stay on Airbnb, read the profiles of Hosts and listings thoroughly and check out the reviews and ratings left by other guests.”

“You can also contact the Host to ask any questions before booking by using Airbnb’s secure messaging tool.”

For more information on how to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud visit:

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