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Top Airbnb Scams and How to Avoid Them: Expert Tips

Updated: May 10

Airbnb rental scams are unfortunately a reality, which requires extreme caution to avoid finding yourself in an unfortunate situation. Rest assured, we will give you valuable advice that we advise you to follow.

The most common Airbnb scams

Off-platform payments

The most common trap concerns the establishment of a dialogue between the owner and the potential tenant. The discussion begins to take place and very quickly, the interlocutor wishes to make the payment, but outside the official platform. The idea is then to circumvent the security systems put in place by the American giant and thus set up a scam in which it will be difficult for you to find your money.

Therefore, do not see the financial savings, that is to say the absence of commission from the Airbnb platform, because you simply risk being taken advantage of and know that this is a relatively current. As soon as this happens, we advise you to report it to customer service. Obviously, you do not accept any financial exchange outside of the traditional system in place, otherwise you will find yourself in an unfortunate situation. Besides, it's an Airbnb scam with difficult reimbursement, because you have to file a complaint with the gendarmerie or a police station to explain your situation.

Airbnb Property Management and Concierge Services

Fake reviews on the platform

Reviews constitute very important social proof. When you notice that someone has many positive reviews, a feeling of trust is naturally established. Unfortunately, fake reviews are Airbnb scams that you should be aware of, as scammers are quick to abuse them.

How do they do it? Please note that the procedure remains very simple, starting with the creation of fake profiles. From these accounts, positive comments are left about users or non-existent properties. For your part, when you want to make a reservation or inquire about a user, you are simply deceived by this cleverly implemented system. Therefore, we advise you to read the list of reviews carefully to try to observe a certain redundancy. Sometimes comments are also grouped together over the same time period. If this is the case, these are negative elements that should alert you.

Be careful with off-platform payments: dialogue with the tenant, then request for unsecured payment.

Phishing on Airbnb

Phishing is another technique favored by scammers and you should know that it does not only exist on the platform. The principle is relatively simple to understand. A technique is then put in place with the aim of deceiving you. For your part, you feel like you're talking to an Airbnb user or customer service. It's a seemingly legitimate text message or email, but know that it's absolutely not.

Ultimately, scammers try to steal information from you such as your credit card number or even login credentials. This is obviously information that you should never communicate, and know that the Airbnb platform will never ask you for confidential information. When you are in this situation, you should be suspicious, break the dialogue and warn Airbnb that a phishing campaign is underway.

Fake images

Dishonest people do not hesitate to use modified images to make a home look much more attractive than it actually is. Previously, it was necessary to have design skills to use specialized software to fake photographs. Now, the process is even simpler by using artificial intelligence.

At first glance, it is not always easy to spot this type of scam. On the contrary, you must be particularly attentive to details, because scammers often crudely tamper with images. However, the best technique remains to ask for additional images in order to confirm your first impression or on the contrary to discover the pot aux roses.

Beware of fake images: use of artificial intelligence to make housing attractive, be careful.

Identity theft

Once again, this is a well-known scam that requires the greatest vigilance. This time, the scammers are impersonating real hosts. When the scam is properly set up, false identity documents are then used or official documents, but which have unfortunately been stolen.

As a result, travelers are naturally misled and they only realize the scam once they arrive on site. Unfortunately, the property has already been reserved on the platform. When the traveler arrives there, he will have the unpleasant surprise of discovering a ghost address. Sometimes, the property actually exists, but the owners of the house or apartment are completely unaware that the property has been put online.

Multiple announcements

To increase the chances of finding gullible users, scammers multiply advertisements even though they correspond to exactly the same property. For his part, the fraudster benefits from a multitude of reservations during the same period for the same accommodation. You quickly understand that the benefits generated can be particularly significant.

For your part, you can use the Google Lens service using images from the property. This information will be directly searched within the search engines and if other properties match your query, you have every reason to be suspicious and therefore to distance yourself.

How to spot an Airbnb scam?

Check comments left

Can you get scammed on Airbnb? Although many precautions are taken by the platform, know that zero risk does not exist. As a result, your vigilance will be required for each action, whether you are owner of a property or a traveler. It all starts with checking the comments, because this is crucially important information.

Based on these elements, you will naturally be able to assess the reliability of the property, but also of the person carrying out the  rental. As soon as you notice inconsistent, repetitive or similar comments over a short period of time, we recommend that you move on and set your sights on another rental. Of course, the information is not necessarily 100% reliable, but these are negative signals that you must take into consideration.

Prevent scams on Airbnb by carefully checking reviews for negative signals.

Check profile information

The authenticity of the host must obviously be studied with the greatest caution. To do this, simply click on their pseudonym and you will discover information that we advise you to read. First of all, you know how long the Airbnb host has been on the platform. You will also discover this personal information and we advise you to compare it with the available advertisements.

Please note that the American giant remains particularly attentive to this type of request. Therefore, when a person can obtain the status of Super Host, this is an additional guarantee of trust, because it is legitimate to believe that the user has proven himself. So, when you have the choice between two rentals, the first with a questionable profile and the second with a verified profile, do not hesitate for a single second.

Verify the authenticity of the host on Airbnb by viewing their profile, including length of stay and Super Host status.

Too many inconsistencies during exchanges

During your exchanges with your interlocutor, you may notice inconsistencies. These are signs to be aware of because you may be talking to a scammer. From the moment the communication seems contradictory or unclear to you, we advise you not to continue.

You must adopt exactly the same reaction when the user encourages you to continue trading outside the platform. In such a case, you do not follow up and we also advise you to warn the platform, because other less vigilant users risk falling into the trap.

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