Airbnb Scams: How to Avoid Scams on Airbnb
Recently, I have had an influx of phishy inquiries mostly from VRBO. I have reached out to VRBO on multiple occasions to tell them about these annoyingly spammy and scammy inquires, but they have not done anything to help.
I created this helpful exercise to go through when you get a suspicious inquiry from these popular booking sites.
I’ve also noticed that I wasn’t the only one getting these phishy inquires as other hosts on a popular Facebook group are also getting them. I will outline the common patterns below, so be sure to follow this exercise to decipher a real booking vs. a scammy one.
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #1 – It is always an inquiry (+1 point)
They do not book your place even though you have Instant Book turned on. This does make sense some of the times because some legitimate bookings do require some logistical coordination. If a potential guest is only asking for the available dates then there is no need to raise any suspicions.
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #2 – They do not trust credit cards or online payments (+5 points)
If an inquiry is asking for available dates and they don’t trust any kind of payments online, then this is definitely a scam. I’d respond and say something like this:
Dear Potential Scammer, For secruity reasons, I do not accept any wired transfers, cashier checks, or bank certified checks. If you would like to stay at my place, you will be required to make payments via this platform. Thanks and have a good day, Sam
Check out this screenshot below if you don’t believe me.
Sometimes, I’d mess with them and tell them that I have increased the nightly rate 1000% and a security deposit of $10,000 dollars( a little too much time on my hands). 🙂
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #3- Sob Story (+2 points)
Woo me! They give more information than a typical traveler. It’s totally normal if travelers want to disclose the reasons on why they decided to book your place; it’s another story when they tell you their life story. Do not feel bad for them and definitely don’t believe what you read.
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #4 – Communicate outside of the platform (+2 points)
Can you spot the phishiness from this inquiry below?
I already knew it was a scammy inquiry because she wanted to communicate directly via a fake email alias. For my curiosity, I actually Googled Vorong.com and found nothing.
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #5- Flexible dates (+2 points)
Why are you having a flexible check-in time? Didn’t you already book your airfare ahead of the time? Yeah, you scammer!
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #6 – Language (+1 point)
If the inquirer demonstrates a poor grasp of basic language – spelling, punctuation, and grammar – they could be a scammer.
Airbnb Scams: Pattern #7 – No verifications (+1 point)
Not even their email. Why? Because they are a scammer. In the only case where an unverified account is acceptable is when they are a first-time user.
If you get 2 points or more, then be sure to decline the inquiry, wish them luck, and report them! Here’s a comprehensive list of possible scammy inquiries.
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