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Scammers Posing as Hotels on Are Duping UK Holidaymakers; Here’s How to Be Safe

"When you're worried about your booking being canceled in the middle of the night, you don't think straight," said the victim of a booking scam.
Image Source: Beware of holiday booking scams (representative image) | Photo by Mike Glezos | Pexels
Image Source: Beware of holiday booking scams (representative image) | Photo by Mike Glezos | Pexels

Vacations are a great break from daily life, but they need careful planning. Scammers posing as hotels on have duped people planning vacations in the UK. This is Money claims that at least one individual has had money taken by these con artists. According to, its app and website are secure and unhacked. Scammers gain access to lodging and apartment accounts. Subsequently, they discreetly request additional money from their clients through messaging.

Image Source: Photo by Haley Black | Pexels
Scammers target vacation bookings (representative image) | Photo by Haley Black | Pexels

In October of last year, Becky—who goes by Becky—was duped by a scam while she was traveling in Thailand, per Metro. She lost £900 ($1,113.21) as a result of it. While traveling to a hotel for a single night in the late hours of the night, Becky received a message on the app. It appeared to be from a hotel employee. She was requested to pay in Thai Baht in the message. It stated that her reservation would be canceled if she didn't pay. Becky said, "I should have realized that this was more money than I paid for the hotel. But it was in a different currency, and when you're worried about your booking being canceled in the middle of the night, you don't think straight."

 A representative informed that Becky received her complete £910 ($1,125.58) refund on March 12. This is Money was informed by Jean, a different client that she had to pay an additional £800 ($989.52) to rebook hotel rooms.  She believes that numerous hotel reservations in London were canceled by someone breaking into her account. When Jean received an email from informing her that her reservations had been abruptly canceled, she became aware of the fraud. For a work-related trip to London in March, she had reserved nine rooms. She then discovered that the con artists had also canceled her own vacation reservation at a different hotel. Jean told the hotel it wasn't her who canceled the bookings. But the hotel said, "They were canceled by me, using my account," according to the report. To make things worse, Jean had just changed her password after hearing about scams.

Image Source: Photo by Oleksandr P | Pexels
Beware of travel booking scams (representative image) | Photo by Oleksandr P | Pexels

"I've gotten emails saying someone else is trying to mess with my account and change my password, so I figure they must have hacked in," Jean explained. She attempted to rectify the reservations using, but they informed her that they were already canceled and they could not assist. Jean said, "The hotel said they were unable to assist either because the reservations were made through a third party." Jean had to pay an additional £800 ($989.52) to reserve the same rooms. Her personal information was also altered by the con artists, who reset and erased everything. She so forfeited the benefits she had accrued as a devoted user. Jean claimed that had declined to pay her when This is Money got in touch with them.

Jean claimed that had declined to pay her when This is Money got in touch with them. For a friend's wedding this summer, Rhiannon from Warwickshire had reserved two nights at a Hampton by Hilton hotel in Blackburn. According to the article, she received a second message from the hotel, which appeared to be authentic because it appeared in the same chat log where she had previously communicated with them.

The message requested Rhiannon's credit card information once more to confirm the reservation while the hotel updated its system. They claimed to want a minimal sum of money, which they would reimburse. First, just £4 ($4.95 ) was taken from her account, followed by another £144.72 ($179.00). told her to contact the hotel directly who said they did not take this money and ‘it sounded like a scam.’ Thankfully, Rhiannon’s bank refunded her, but didn’t seem bothered by what had happened. The ordeal "put me off using them in the future," she said.

Image Source: Photo by Torsten Dettlaff | Pexels
Beware of travel booking scams (representative image) | Photo by Torsten Dettlaff | Pexels

A spokesperson for told Metro its systems were not breached, but its accommodation partners have been targeted with really convincing tactics by cybercriminals. Tactics include encouraging customers to click on links or attachments, which then allows the malware to load onto their machines and in some cases give unauthorized access to their account. They continued: ‘While thankfully the actual numbers of accommodations affected by this scam are a small fraction of those on our platform, we absolutely understand the seriousness for those impacted, which is why our teams have been working diligently to support our partners in securing their systems as quickly as possible and helping any potentially impacted customers accordingly, including with recovering any lost funds."

Customers should report suspicious messages to customer service team and to further protect themselves, customers can also carefully check the payment policy details outlined on the property listing page and in the booking confirmation.