Airbnb Scams - 9 Guest Scams, 10 Host Scams with Tips
Scams have entered Airbnb! Its a sad but true story. Therefore it is essential for the guests and the hosts to be aware of all the Airbnb Scams to stay safe from them.
Airbnb has become a popular platform for homeowners to rent out their properties and for travelers to find accommodations. However, like any popular platform, Airbnb is not immune to scams. Both hosts and guests can fall victim.
Airbnb Scams for Guests
Guests using Airbnb should be aware of potential scams and deceptive practices. Here are some scams that guests should particularly watch out for:
These are listings for properties that either don't exist or aren't available for rent. Scammers can use stolen photos from other websites to create these fake listings. Once booked, they might cancel last minute or provide an address that's invalid.
Be extra careful if you are traveling to one of the Top 10 Scamming Countries in the World!
Advance Fee Scams
A host may ask you to pay outside of the Airbnb platform, often with the promise of a discount. They might request payment via wire transfer, gift cards, or other untraceable methods. Once the payment is made, the scammer disappears.
Be wary of emails or messages that seem to be from Airbnb but ask you to confirm your account details, make payments outside of the platform, or click on suspicious links. Always check the email sender's address and avoid clicking on links from unverified sources. Always log in directly through the Airbnb website or app.
Extremely low prices for luxurious properties can be a red flag. Scammers often lure guests in with attractive prices, only to scam them later.
Bait and Switch
A host might show photos of a beautiful property, but upon arrival, the guest is directed to a different, less appealing location or finds that the listed amenities are missing.
Communication Outside Airbnb
A host who insists on communicating or transacting outside of Airbnb's platform before a booking is a red flag. Airbnb can't assist in disputes arising from off-platform communications or transactions.
Third-Party Booking Scams
Sometimes, scammers impersonate Airbnb by creating fake Airbnb websites. They might send links directing guests to these sites, asking them to log in or make payments. This can lead to both financial loss and data theft.
Understand other traveling scamming methods and how to avoid them.
Be wary of listings that lack clear photos, have vague descriptions, or don’t have reviews. While new listings won't have reviews, they should still be clear in their description and have genuine photos.
Request for Deposit or Additional Fees Outside Airbnb
While it's normal for hosts to charge security deposits, it should be done within the Airbnb platform. If a host asks for this or any other fee directly, it's a red flag.
Tips for Airbnb Guests not to get Scammed
- Always communicate and pay through Airbnb's platform.
- Read reviews of the property and the host.
- Verify the property's location through maps or other reliable sources.
- Be cautious if the deal seems too good to be true.
- Reach out to Airbnb's customer service if anything seems suspicious.
Airbnb Scams for Hosts
A guest claims to have accidentally overpaid (usually with a check or some other form of payment) and asks the host to refund the excess amount. Once the host refunds the supposed overpayment, they later find out the initial payment was fraudulent.
Third-party Booking Scams
A guest might ask a host to reserve a room through a third-party site or directly, bypassing Airbnb. These arrangements can often be traps for scams or can lead to situations where Airbnb's protections don't apply.
Scammers send emails or messages posing as Airbnb, trying to obtain the host’s personal information or login details. Always double-check the email address of the sender and never click on suspicious links.
Fake Airbnb Websites
A "guest" might send a link to a host asking them to log in to a site that looks like Airbnb but is a fake designed to steal login credentials.
Damage Deposit Scams
A guest books a place then immediately requests to cancel but asks the host to do it from their side to supposedly ensure the host retains the deposit or cancellation fees. The scam lies in Airbnb's policy; if a host cancels, they're often penalized, and the guest is fully refunded.
Advance Payment Scams
A guest asks for the host's personal banking details to make an advance payment. This is usually an attempt at identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals.
A "potential guest" inquires about a booking but is more interested in gathering personal information or other details about the host. They might ask unnecessary questions unrelated to the stay.
Stolen Credit Card Bookings
Someone books using stolen credit card information. The actual owner of the card disputes the charge, and the host loses the money after the guest has already stayed.
Last-minute Booking Scams
A guest makes a last-minute booking and immediately asks for the address without completing the payment process on Airbnb. They might claim they're nearby or have some emergency. Always ensure bookings are confirmed and paid for through Airbnb before sharing your address.
A guest refuses to leave after their reservation period ends. Familiarize yourself with local tenancy laws, as some places might provide rights to people after they've stayed in a place for a certain period.
Tips for Protecting Yourself as an Airbnb Host
- Always communicate and transact through Airbnb's platform.
- Vet guests by checking their reviews and ratings.
- Set clear house rules and communicate them upfront.
- Consider setting up security measures, like cameras in public areas of your property (ensure this complies with local laws and Airbnb's policies).
- Regularly change and update passwords to your Airbnb account.
- Consider using Airbnb's verified ID feature for added security.
- Be skeptical of guests who are overly secretive, pushy, or who ask many questions about your personal schedule or habits.