Photos of my B&B were used to scam online customers on a hotel booking site

I was horrified when a man turned up at our door saying he had paid for a room at our bed & breakfast...people need to be warned about online booking scams.
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The family-run hotel on Albert Road, Blackpool does everything they can to provide a good service for guests.

So the Dobson's felt 'terrible' when a gentleman turned up on the door of The Trafalgar, confused, having booked a room from a website they didn't know their hotel was listed on.

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The guest looks confused and upset

"The poor guy looked so confused and upset," Lyndsay Dobson told Blackpool Gazette. He had booked the room on [what looked like a well-known booking platform] despite the family having no knowledge that they were listed on there.

"The price wasn't correct, we've never advertised on their site and we've never had an email or received any money."

We wanted to help but he blamed us

Although Mrs Dobson and her husband, Craig, were keen to straighten things out with the unexpected guest, the situation seemed to put him on edge.

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"Once he realised he hadn't a booking with us he was very closed off towards us and we tried to ask questions and help. He wasn't willing to answer our questions. I guess he was disappointed and blamed us."

The man stayed in his car for around 15 minutes before he drove off.

It's a scam and we've no way to stop it

But this is not the first time it's happened, according to Mrs Dobson.

"It's been happening for a few years. [Booking platforms] have advertised my hotel. Old pictures, wrong location and wrong details. Sometimes they take card details and payment. We've no way to stop it. It looks to be a scam but I hate that we've been affected again."

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Mrs Dobson said she wanted to warn people of some of the scams online that can seem very genuine.

How can I protect myself from booking scams?

StayBlackpool - the resort’s Hotel & Guest House Association - warn that recognised brands and like well known online booking sites are becoming more frequent.

Ian White, a director of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: "Making payments over £100 by credit card offers extra protection as Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 means that the credit card companies insurance kicks in."

He also advises potential customers to book direct with a hotel if possible, adding: "however even doing this requires a certain amount of work in double checking you are speaking to the right people. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

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