Alan Sugar issues warning about 'Airbnb scam' after family of six turns up at his property

Julia Hunt
Lord Sugar speaks at the British Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference held at the headquarters of BAFTA (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Lord Alan Sugar has warned his fans after he was apparently caught up in an Airbnb scam.

The businessman, 72, said a family had been cheated out of around £465 after fraudsters told them they could stay at one of his properties in London.

He posted a message on Twitter saying that the family of six, who were from the US, had turned up thinking that they were renting the property for three days. They had paid over $600 for the stay.

Read more: Lord Sugar reveals when he’ll quit The Apprentice

The Apprentice star claimed that whoever was behind the con had taken an image from a estate agent’s website to pretend they were offering the property for rent.

He tweeted: “WARNING AIRBNB SCAM: Yesterday a American family of 6 turned up at one of my proprieties in London.

“They had been scammed to think they could rent it for 3 days.

“The scammers took a photo from an estate agents web site and stole over $600 from these poor people.”

“B*******,” added the star.

Responding to the story, an Airbnb spokesperson said: “We were disappointed to hear about this experience and are looking into the matter. More than 2 million people check-in to Airbnb listings each night and while bad experiences are incredibly rare, we work hard to make things right when they do occur."

The property sharing company says it has tried to contact Sugar for more details about the incident, but he has yet to respond.

They add that Airbnb “hold funds for a booking until 24 hours after a guest has checked into a listing, before releasing payment to the host, to ensure everything is as it should be for both parties.

If users book through our secure payment system, their money would be safe and at no point would the “bad actors” receive the money.”

Sir Alan Sugar at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards BAFTA in London, May 12th, 2013. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)

Lord Sugar is currently starring on the 15th series of The Apprentice.

Read more: Lord Sugar defends show in wake of aftercare debate

The business mogul has been firing and hiring people ever since the BBC show began back in 2004, and recently indicated when it might be time for him to leave the TV boardroom.

He told The Mirror: “We’ve got one more series I’m contracted to for the record. That will be the 16th and the format owner will be eagerly chasing after us.”

“I might do it to 20, yeah 20 sounds a round figure,” he said.

Airbnb has been contacted for comment.