Airbnb and Get Safe Online help raise awareness of holiday scams

April 10th 2024

  • Whether it be social media scams or identity theft, a third of 18-34-year-olds are confident they would never fall for any type of scam – but research shows they’re scammed more than any other age group
  • Young people still think those over the age of 60 are most likely to be scammed, yet more than a quarter of Gen Z have been targeted by fraudsters when booking a holiday or accommodation
  • Airbnb and Get Safe Online join forces to help people avoid holiday scams ahead of the May bank holidays

From credit card fraud to phishing and social media scams, the digital age has given rise to numerous different threats of fraud. Despite growing up in the age of technology, new UK research commissioned by Airbnb[1] has found 18-34-year-olds are scammed more than any other age group and lose an average of £1,150 each to a variety of different scams – in spite of being the most confident they would never fall victim to one.

As UK travellers look to take advantage of the May bank holidays, fraudsters may try to trick people into thinking they are booking with a legitimate company through fake websites, texts and emails, or even on social media. It comes as the new research also reveals one in five (18%) Brits admit they couldn’t spot a fake holiday or accommodation website.

As part of Airbnb’s efforts to help keep its community safe, it has safeguards in place to help protect stays booked on Airbnb, including secure payment processes. In addition, it encourages consumers to report suspicious websites or phishing emails for investigation, and it works with third parties to report them for further action. In 12 months[2], the Airbnb team detected and mitigated almost 2,500 third party phishing domains globally.

Today, Airbnb has teamed up with long-standing partner and not-for-profit online safety experts Get Safe Online to provide tips on how to avoid third party scams and safely book a trip ahead of the bank holidays, as Airbnb data reveals 10 April was the most popular time of the month for Brits to search for a spring getaway last year[3].

 Common misconception that older generations are most likely to fall victim to scams

When asked which generation they thought were most likely to be scammed, young people picked Baby Boomers more than any other age category, with over a third (36%) of Gen Z and two in five (40%) Millennials opting for Baby Boomers.

However, research shows that 18-34-year-olds have been scammed more than any other age group and over a third (34%) wouldn’t know who to go to for help if they were scammed. The most common type of scam that this age group falls for is phishing, which is when scammers trick people into sharing sensitive information through fake emails, texts or calls.

Desire for holiday deals fuelling rise in scams – especially among the young

As the cost of living continues to bite, a third (32%) of Brits are looking to make savings on holidays this year. However, a desire for deals and riskier decision-making may be making people more susceptible to scams, with over a quarter (28%) of Gen Z having been targeted by a holiday or accommodation scam.

When it comes to booking, nearly one in 10 (9%) Brits would be willing to book a holiday with an unrecognised provider if it meant saving money, rising to 17% of Gen Z. Meanwhile, more than one in 10 (13%) UK adults, rising to one in five (19%) 18-34-year-olds, would pay for a holiday via bank transfer, where their money is not protected.

 Young people may be less vigilant online and on social media, leaving them vulnerable to scams

Relaxed attitudes to social media may have a part to play in young people falling victim to fraud. Nearly half (42%) of Gen Z would search or book a holiday via social media, compared to just under a third (29%) of Millennials and only 5% of Baby Boomers. Meanwhile, 14% of 18-34-year-olds would be willing to book a holiday advertised by an influencer on social media compared to just 1% of those aged over 55.

Although raised in the digital era, the research also reveals that people aged 18-34 may be less vigilant online, leaving them more vulnerable to fraud. While the majority of Baby Boomers (62%) and Gen X (54%) use a different password for each online account, this falls to less than half (49%) when looking at Gen Z.

Top tips from Get Safe Online and Airbnb to help Brits avoid holiday scams:

  • Never click on unexpected links – Bogus links and attachments in emails are designed to take you to sites designed to look like a real company website, but can trick individuals into revealing personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Use the Airbnb app or go directly to the website ( to help ensure you’re on the legitimate company website.
  • Be wary of unusually cheap deals or high deposits – If a deal or offer seems too good to be true, such as those advertised on social media, it could be a scammer and it’s best to end all communication immediately.
  • Do not pay for holidays or accommodation by direct bank transfer. If paying directly, opt to pay by credit card – Paying by credit card often offers better buyer protection, and a higher chance of getting your money back if something goes wrong.
  • Stay on Airbnb to book, pay and communicate – Stays should always be booked and paid for on-platform only to take advantage of Airbnb’s secure processes and refund policies. Every booking comes with AirCover, meaning if there’s a serious issue with your Airbnb that your Host can’t resolve, we’ll help you find a similar place or give you a refund. If anyone asks you to go off-platform, you should report it to Airbnb.
  • Look out for the “verified” badge on Airbnb listings – Guests shouldn’t have to worry that a listing is fake or isn’t where it says it is, which is why Airbnb has verified 1.5 million listings.
  • Use a different password for each online account and add two factor or multi-factor authentication – If your details are compromised online, scammers can access your personal details and use them to take over your online accounts.

Amanda Cupples, General Manager for the UK and Northern Europe, Airbnb, said: “As people take advantage of the upcoming Bank Holidays, travellers should remain vigilant when browsing for their trips online and book directly with trusted providers. We encourage all of our guests to book, communicate and pay for their stay on the Airbnb platform, where we have secure processes and support measures like AirCover in place to help keep our community safe.”

Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online, said: “Many of us book our holidays online, and it is so important that we can do so safely, securely and with confidence. Two top pieces of advice to remember when booking trips and travel online – if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is, and if you’re booking with Airbnb always stay on the platform when searching for a property and making payments.”

[1] Nationally representative research conducted by Opinium in March 2024 among 2,000 UK adults. Unless indicated otherwise, all data points refer to the Opinium research.

[2] March 2023 to March 2024.

[3] Nights booked by UK guests by days, 2023.

Written by

Tim Mitchell

In partnership with