Airbnb under fire after investigation highlights its inability to stop fraudsters

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Airbnb's anti-fraud policy has come under scrutiny after an investigation highlighted major flaws in its ability to stop fake accommodation listings which fraudsters use to rob people of money.

Consumer research site Which? called on Airbnb to make changes to its procedures after its investigators managed to post eight property profiles without being asked for any proof of identification.

The Times reported that one victim named Trudy Gregory was defrauded by two listings in a row, costing her more than £6000.

Airbnb returned the balance for the first listing but refused to compensate her for the second because she had flouted its rule to never communicate with a home-owner separately over email.

Which? claimed an Airbnb representative admitted to its investigators that there were thousands of fake listings on the site.

“It’s clear that although some procedures are in place, more needs to be done to tighten this up and to quickly shut down fraudulent accounts when they are reported,” said Which? travel editor Rory Boland.

An Airbnb spokesman said: “We recently introduced new security tools to help tackle fake listings and educate our community about staying safe online, including more warnings.”

Which? claims Airbnb is not the only holiday site failing to protect its customers. Which? also managed to post fake properties on Holiday Lettings and HomeAway.co.uk.

Airbnb recently tied up its third partnership with a state government in India in a bid to quickly dominate the Indian market.

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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