Holidaymaker robbed of R37K

The alleged agent and others linked to him operate on websites Gumtree & OLX.

Holidaymakers head to Durban on the N3 during the holidays. Picture: EWN.

PRETORIA - Holidaymakers have been urged to be vigilant when booking seaside accommodation this festive season.

This after a Gauteng family arrived in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, to find they had no accommodation booked.

Eyewitness News tracked down a dozen similar holiday deals under the name of the same agent and others linked to him on online websites Gumtree and OLX.

It's understood at least three people operate the scam and use Gmail addresses to communicate with victims.

Shalin Govender says he found the holiday house for rent on Gumtree and initiated contact with a man called Gerrie.

"We had his cellphone number, email address and his supervisor contacted me."

Govender said he paid a 50 percent deposit of R37,000 and Gerrie was in contact with him until the eve of their arrival, even asking what time they'd be there.

But he says when they arrived at the address, the house was occupied by its owner.

Govender was told another family had arrived there days earlier also expecting to occupy the house for the holidays.

Eager holidaymakers have been urged to be vigilant to avoid falling victim to similar scams.

Gerrie Botha, Charl Dorchester and William Whirlsmith are some of the agent names eager holidaymakers are warned to look out for.

The website offers accommodation in several coastal cities as well as Mpumalanga.

While the company is registered to a man in Centurion, he appears to have no link to the website.

Eyewitness News called the six numbers for the agents listed on the site, but all of them were unavailable.

The Gauteng family, which fell victim to the scam, will open a criminal case soon.