Man lies about having COVID-19 to get free Airbnb stay: Victoria police

Two men in Victoria were arrested Saturday in connection with an alleged COVID-19 Airbnb scam.

An Airbnb guest refused to leave his unit in a building in the 600-block of Herald Street, according to police, saying he had COVID-19 and was suffering severe symptoms.

The owner of the unit let him stay for free, police said, but later became suspicious when the man was spotted leaving the building.

Officers later found the man and determined he did not have the virus. He was taken back to the unit, where they found a second man, who was wanted on warrants along with thousands of dollars worth of stolen property.

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Police seized the stolen property and arrested both men, and the suspect wanted on warrants was taken to the Saanich Police Department.

In a statement to Global News, Airbnb said it has offered its full support to the Airbnb host and Victoria police.

Police are warning the public to be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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