With growing popularity comes growing risks, therefore, being prepared to spot any potential scams or fraudulent behavior can be crucial.
Airbnb has over 4 million hosts, and 6 million listings, meaning the chances of falling victim to a scam are high.
And since the US has more Airbnbs than any other country in the world, how can Americans spot the warning signs of an Airbnb scam?
With this in mind, industry experts have revealed 5 ways to spot if your Airbnb is a scam, so you’re prepared for your next vacation.
5 ways to spot an Airbnb scam
1 – Hosts pushing for external communication
Hosts including their personal email or phone number in the property description can be a sign of a scam – most booking sites ban external exchanges, instead encouraging all communication and interactions to take place through the site.
This is the same for payment, if the host is pushing you to pay using an alternative method to that of the booking site, this can be a sign of a scam as they are moving away from the secure, tracked method of the site.
2 – Email Links
Fraudsters may send fake Airbnb links via email requesting you to input your data in order to receive the best deals or secure a booking.
If you do receive an email like this, try to avoid clicking the link – instead, go straight to the official website and log in via the secure system.
If you do choose to follow the link, double-check the URL to ensure it’s leading to the official site.
3 – The deal is too good to be true
If the deal appears too good to be true, chances are that is the case. Try reverse image searching the images used in the listing, as well as searching for reviews and evidence that the property is legitimate – you can do this by right-clicking on the image and selecting the option “search for image with google lens.”
However, if you are unsure, it’s best to avoid the listing as it is better to pay a little bit more than to lose money and details to a scam.
4 – The host’s profile
The host’s profile can be a strong tell as to whether or not they are legitimate listings. Airbnb has begun verifying both hosts and guests on its site to ensure the properties are valid and reliable.
The number of listings on one profile can also signal whether or not they are genuine, it’s unlikely that an individual host will have a large number of properties for rent so be sure to look into the reviews, properties and details of the host before booking.
5 – Reviews
The most valuable asset when booking a rental property is the reviews. These can apply to both the property itself and the host.
If a property has no reviews, it can often be best to steer clear – however, it could be that this is a new listing, in which case, look at the reviews for the host and make an informed decision from there.
Rental property sites such as Airbnb have grown in popularity over recent years, with many people opting to book via these sites when planning their vacations. However, with growing popularity comes growing risks, therefore, being prepared to spot any potential scams or fraudulent behavior can be crucial in keeping your personal information safe.
Many of these sites have internal protocols to ensure the safety of their users, therefore by ensuring you keep all transactions within the system of the site, you’re already less likely to be faced with a scam. However, if a host is trying to move your correspondence away from the site, this is a sign of fraudulent behavior. Reviews are extremely important on these sites as they validify the legitimacy of hosts and listings, so if you are unsure about a property you are thinking of renting, be sure to check the reviews before booking.
Once again, be careful with where you share your personal information, if you have received a request from Airbnb via email, it is best to access the site separately to any links in the email to ensure you will not be taken to a fraudulent site that plans on phishing your data. Continue to handle all correspondence through Airbnb’s official site and you will have secure evidence and receipts of any transactions made between yourself and the host.