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The Top 5 Most Common Airbnb Frauds

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in SecurityAugust 25, 2023

The last thing anyone wants to consider when planning a vacation or retreat is the possibility of getting scammed in the process. Unfortunately, Airbnb scams are common, and travelers have to keep their wits about them when securing that long-awaited getaway. The scams may also target hosts to take advantage of their offerings. Scammers may create fake lists or impersonate legitimate hosts to trick users into sharing information or stealing property. Being aware of these scams is crucial as it safeguards personal and financial information from criminals. If something feels too good to be true, it probably means it's a scam. The following are a few common Airbnb scams one should be aware of.

The 5 Airbnb Scams to Avoid

1. Fake listings

A fake listing scam is where someone makes a phony listing with addresses that do not exist. They will probably ask for the minimum deposit for the stay, and after the holidaymaker has given the money, they will get a rude shock. Typically, one will show up to the address provided only to find the owner is different from the one they have been corresponding with, or it might not even be the same Airbnb. One of the ways to spot a fake listing is if it appears thin. If the host profile is not complete, that is a red flag. It might not be the case, but if the host still needs to have reviews, they are providing a deal that appears too good to be accurate; it most likely is a scam. Similarly, if the photos of the property appear to be doctored or from a generic site, that is not a good sign. Photos widely attributed to different sources could mean the scammer picked them online and is using them to pose as the property listing. Users may opt foremail lookup toolsto determine if the images illustrated are connected to the Airbnb host or to trace their social media profiles.

2. Identity Theft Scams

In these scams, the scammer would use personal information attained from the Airbnb users so they can commit fraud or theft. For example, the criminal can steal a user's financial details via their credit card. They will then run up purchases on the card, which will be traced to the owner. Before the user becomes aware, they may be subject to significant legal liability.

3. Airbnb Account Hacking

Aside from misrepresenting properties, scammers can hack into a user's account to book a stay via their credit card details. In this case, the person may change the login details of the user account to lock them out. Thisidentity theftinvolves the Airbnb account and one's credit card information. The offender may also take liberties at the stay, causing mayhem and destruction of property. Though account hacking is not the most common approach, it can still be quite damaging. Victims who go through this can lose upwards of ten thousand dollars. One of the most common ways a hacker gets access to an Airbnb account is by tricking the user into providing their login details. That is by posing as a host and even sending links for the user to book a stay. However, in this process, the link goes to an external but similar-looking site to Airbnb, which then asks for the person's information.

4. Fake Reviews

Companies are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of reviews to their reputation. However, some unscrupulous individuals and groups may also manipulate the reviews so they become a part of the fraud taking place. In this case, the host creates a fake account and reviews their properties or finds people to create positive reviews. On the other hand, competitors seeking to make more market share for themselves can leave negative reviews on the other host's properties. Unfortunately, this makes it harder to determine what is true or not.

5. Theft and Damage Scams

Unfortunately, guests sometimes intentionally damage or steal from the property, especially if high-end items are at the host's residence. It can cause significant losses to the host, especially if the user needs to forward their true identity when signing and paying for the stay. Alternatively, it could be the host who claims that items were damaged or stolen when they were not. Both instances can be difficult to anticipate and tend to cause unpleasant experiences.

Airbnb Scmas

What to Do if You Have Been Scammed

Fortunately, there are instances when Airbnb reimburses the user if they have been scammed. That is if the host cancels or it is impossible to check in to the property. Similarly, if the listing is not as advertised, the user can report it within three days and request a refund. However, if the scam involved identity theft or the user was led to an external site, Airbnb will not cover these losses.

Tips to Avoid Airbnb Scams

The best way to avoid being scammed is to do one's due diligence by checking out all the information the host provides. Look over the host profile, photographs of the property, and home amenities. It is also advisable to search their given name online or on social media to see if they have any complaints or bad reviews. Their communication should be quick; users can ask for virtual tours to ensure they own the listing. It is also to ensure the amenities listed are on the platform. Users should stay and pay on the platform as well. If any host asks the user to pay via other platforms rather than what is provided, that is an immediate red flag. Aproperty records searchcan also provide an advantage in confirming the host is the residence's owner or is authorized to perform the transactions.

Don’t Fall Victim to an Airbnb Scam

Airbnb is built on a system of trust, considering it allows people to live and sleep in other's homes. Unfortunately, some criminals have made a living out of destroying that trust. However, Airbnb scams are like any other, where the perpetrator falsely advertises a listing and tries to get unsuspecting users to pay them or steal their financial information. The great thing is Airbnb does refund people who have been defrauded by hosts if they did not see the property or if things were not as illustrated. However, the user must employ due diligence when seeking out getaways. Hosts that communicate poorly or ask to be paid via a platform other than Airbnb may well be scammers. It is also advisable to take time when booking the stays as it allows careful consideration of the available options and discourages compromise.

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