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Buyer beware: Woman gets scammed Sh37k on popular hotel booking app

By Winnie Mabel November 3rd, 2023 3 min read

A woman on TikTok went viral after warning her followers against being scammed on the popular hotel booking site,, following her predicament with a scammer.

The woman, Nandini, presumed to be British, revealed she lost 200 pounds (Sh 36, 734.60) after she made her hotel booking via the hotel booking app that has a visitor rate of up to 704 million users a year. As the 2023 end-of-year holidays roll around, scammers are bound to increase their activities and Nandini took this opportunity to warn vacationers against the scam she fell for.

“I’ve just been scammed on…this is a really good scam. I think I’m quite weary and I’m quite on the board with these things but this one had me fooled and now I’ve lost 200 quid. So if you’re booking through and you already know this, but if the hotel that you’ve booked sends you a message, you will get an email to say ‘This hotel has messaged you, click here and there’ll be a copy of it in the email as well but click here to open up the message.’ That’s what I got.

I clicked on it, it opened up to the actual app. Two bookings from the same hotel so I got two messages and if you are a Swifty (Taylor Swift fan), you know those are some concert dates,” began Nandini.

She went on to share messages she received saying her booking might be cancelled due to an error during the verification of her hotel reservations to prevent credit card fraud. She was informed that her reservations would be cancelled within 12 hours unless she was verified. She was then required to enter her payment details and informed ‘’ would charge her payment method but the money would be credited back to her in a minute- this was the “payment method verification.” asks its customers who book hotels but don’t make payments upfront to key in their card details that is valid on the date of one’s check-in to the hotel.

“I put in my card details. I use Revolute which is backed by Mastercard so I’m hoping I’ve got some kind of protection there. It then said ‘Go into your app to approve this normal process’. It did say ‘You will not be charged for this transaction, it’s just for your card details’ but of course, the money went out. However, it kept reloading the page to get me to reapprove the money going out. So I thought, wait a minute. The money’s gone out but it’s telling me the money hasn’t gone out. Something’s not right here.

So at that point, I called the hotel directly and I say, ‘Hey, this has happened, like what’s going on? Is my booking reserved’ and the guy was like ‘Yeah, this is a scam’. I told him he did not understand. This is not a scam, this wasn’t some phishing email, this was the app. ‘Yeah, it’s a scam.’ Once I got off the phone, I searched this on Twitter and yes, this is a scam. So I’ve reported the transaction to Revolute, I’ve frozen my card and I’m just really kicking myself because I didn’t spot that this was a scam,” added Nandini.

In subsequent videos, she revealed the scammers rerouted the app’s clients to a fake website using links and it was there that they obtained card details and withdrew money from their accounts. She also claimed that she was informed that knew about such scammers on their app but did not sensitize clients using the platform.

In October 2023,, however, warned their clients against the scam after allegations emerged that their email system was hacked. The company denied these claims and blamed the email breaches on its partner hotels. Hotels, too, denied this, saying the breaches couldn’t be from their end.

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