A Melbourne couple have spoken out after being fleeced for $9000 (approx £4,500) by a conman on Airbnb.
Damian Teh-White and his wife Katherine found a £450-a-night luxury beachfront villa in Hawaii on Airbnb.
But before booking, the advert said to contact the owner, known as "William", via email to enquire about availability
After exchanging a number of emails, the IT specialist, 52, paid £4,500 via bank transfer to an account based in Poland.
But when he clicked on the confirmation link in his email, he was the directed to a fraudulent duplicate webpage created by the comman instead of the actual Airbnb site.
The fraudulent page had Airbnb's logo in the corner, photos and a description of the villa, and three fake reviews from other holidaymakers.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Australia, Mr Teh-White said: "Whoever sent me the confirmation letter put a hell of a lot of trouble building the page with a considerate replicate effort into it.
"I feel stupid because I work in the IT industry - it's my job but this was someone who made it all look very legitimate."
He added: "I feel foolish and stupid being caught up in this.
"We didn't think anything would go wrong because we trusted the website. We even checked everything and did some research before making the payment. It's a real property, so we didn't think it was suspicious."
Damian says Airbnb "has shown flagrant disregard to my complaints and are allowing these fraudsters to camp on its website and they're not taking responsibility for it either".
He said the page disappeared shortly after he made the payment but he has since seen it under at least two different names.
An Airbnb spokesperson told the Daily Mail Australia: "More than 35 million people have stayed with Airbnb, and while incidents like this are incredibly rare we take them very seriously.
"Guests pay through Airbnb when they book a listing, and hosts don't receive payment until at least 24 hours after guests check-in.
"When you book and pay through the Airbnb website, your money is protected. It's one of the reasons that so many hosts and guests book through Airbnb.
"We proactively educate our new and existing customers on the importance of keeping their bookings strictly on the Airbnb platform, and our global Trust and Safety team works 24/7 to protect our community and prevent attempts at fraud."
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