Travellers turn up at woman's house in London after scam

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Around 100 people turned up, thinking they'd reserved the property. Photo credit: Getty Images

As international borders open up and people look for the perfect spot to take a well-earned break, it's important to be aware of the potential scams that can turn time off into torture.

Travellers from Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and the United States were all caught out by one such scam after turning up at the home of a woman in London in July, the BBC reported.

Gillian, whose full name wasn't revealed, told BBC Radio 4 she felt victimised after tourists turned up at her door after someone listed her home on

"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," she told the You and Yours programme.

She said it was obvious they had come from the airport, informing her they'd booked her house with

When she told them she didn't let the house out, the woman "looked aghast".

And it wasn't a one-off. More people turned up later that day, with around 100 travellers turning up over the course of the month thinking they had reserved the property via the website.

"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," Gillian said.

According to Gillian, she contacted the website on July 5 and the listing was eventually pulled six days later - but that didn't stop 23 groups of people turning up over the rest of the month.

Gillian said all she was able to do was send them away, telling them a scam was clearly responsible.

"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."

A spokesperson for the website said they took people's safety and security "very seriously".

"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."

The website also confirmed that those impacted had been contacted by the customer service team to ensure refunds, relocations and additional fees were dealt with.

However that's not enough for one woman, who booked the house for her and her daughter to stay at after a Lady Gaga gig.

Jo Duckenfield told the BBC she had been assured by the company on the morning of her arrival that the booking was fine, which obviously turned out to be false.

"I won't use them again, ever," Duckenfield said.