How to Avoid Airbnb Scams

The couple spent nearly $ 11,800 last week on a two-week stay at Airbnb in Ibiza, Spain, but found the ad was a scam. Upon check-in, they found out that the hotel did not exist at all and at the last minute tried to find the hotel, trying to contact Airbnb.

We’ve written a lot on how to avoid AirBnB scams (and recently shared some of our top tips on the topic with the Washington Post ). However, people often fall prey to scams such as ad fraud and other racketeering on the rental site. Using this story as an example, let’s dive in and investigate the red flags of common Airbnb scams so you can avoid a similar fate.

The list is too good to be true

The apartment you just booked has a refurbished kitchen, hot tub and private lift, and you somehow got your hands on it at a competitive price and at the last minute. Sorry about that, but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. (This is how the crooks will catch you; they are definitely not going to lure you in with photos of a crumbling apartment.)

Once you’ve booked a place and received an address, it doesn’t hurt to search for properties online. You can use the details you find to match this apartment to the building. If you find the listing too promising in terms of convenience based on your search, then yes, it could very well be a scam. The couple in our example were promised to have their own elevator and a private Turkish bath – both of which turned out to be utilities for the building.

A simple internet search could have prevented them from completing their booking. Sure, sometimes, you ‘ll find great properties that are available at the last minute, but it’s always good to practice a little cynicism anyway.

The presenter stops communicating before the trip

When your Airbnb booking is confirmed, the host will usually contact you with details of your booking through the platform’s direct messaging system; this can include directions, amenities, and anything else that may affect your stay. But communication before the day of your trip is important – if your presenter is silent on the radio in the days leading up to your trip (and especially when you sent him a message to ask fairly simple questions), this is almost always a red flag.

In the case of the couple who booked a rental in Spain, their host fell silent as their travel dates drew near, which should have indicated that their trip was not going to go as planned. To avoid this, contact the host at least a few days before your planned trip; If you have any problems, please contact Airbnb immediately.

It’s also important to know how payment works. Once your booking is confirmed, Airbnb processes your payment and holds it for approximately 24 hours after you signed up for the rental; at this point your host receives payment. This means that if you do encounter an emergency, it is important to contact Airbnb immediately so that you can receive your refund. (For new hosts, however, payment is held by Airbnb for approximately 30 days after the guest signs up, so you’re technically in a safer position.)

And always avoid contact outside of Airbnb whenever possible. In the event Airbnb has to resolve a dispute, they will rely on your message history to resolve the issue. (There are exceptions, of course; you may find that the landlord asks for your email address to provide more detailed guidance on his home. Just be careful when clicking on any phishing links to get your information.) And payment should be there, too. only processed through the Airbnb website so you can be protected from fraud. Avoid any payment incentives outside of Airbnb, such as the discount offered.

The property has few or no reviews

While it is never explicitly mentioned, the underlying assumption made in the pair example is that the listing has little or no reviews. (Based on the couple’s retelling of the story, they only mention that they were drawn to the photo-based list.) As we mentioned earlier , always be critical of reviews; many reviews are always better than very few (provided, of course, that not all of them are negative). And if there’s really a look at the reviews, check out the reviews of other properties of the host, or even their reviews as guests on Airbnb.

Also, be on the lookout for cancellation warnings; When a host cancels a guest for any reason, a cancellation notification is automatically displayed in their reviews. If you notice that many of these are interspersed with actual reviews, this does not necessarily indicate a scam, but it could be a sign that your host is not trustworthy. And if you’re still unsure of your booking, you can even contact the host to ask for additional photos of the rental, so you can better ensure that these aren’t all stock photos or those that you can easily find online. …


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