Can you get scammed in Airbnb? When it comes to renting your home on Airbnb, you’re probably excited about the prospect of earning some extra income. If you’re someone who enjoys helping others and can talk about your home with strangers, being an Airbnb host may be the perfect fit for you.
But, like any other rental market, there’s also the potential for some scammers to take advantage of gullible hosts to make a quick buck. However, with a little knowledge of these common scam techniques, you can protect yourself and your Airbnb earnings. Read on to learn more on how not to get scammed on Airbnb.
What Is Airbnb Scamming?
The golden rule of any transaction is to trust your instinct. But with Airbnb scams, you can’t always rely on your gut. Scammers usually work in teams, and one will create a fake profile that appears real by providing accurate information about themselves. They’ll send messages to hosts, usually claiming to be a traveler and looking for a place to stay. The scammer will then offer an amount that’s well below the market value for the date they’re looking for. Sometimes they’ll even provide fake reviews or ask you to change the listing price or cancel the booking yourself.
Can You Be Scammed Through Airbnb?
Renting your home on Airbnb is a great way to make some extra money, but there’s always the risk of being scammed by a renter. Scammers will typically use one of the following scamming techniques in order to take advantage of hosts and steal their Airbnb earnings:
- Make costly repairs or upgrades to a property before renting it out
- Create fake Airbnb accounts and rent a property without actually making any improvements
- Charge an excessive amount for cleaning fees after staying at an Airbnb rental
It’s important for you to be aware of these common scamming tactics and how to avoid them. As an example, if you rented your home out to someone who said they were going to do some upgrades or repairs, but then you got billed through your credit card for those renovations on top of the rental fee, that would be considered a scam. Always keep records in person with whoever is renting your home so there’s no confusion later on.
How Not to Get Scammed on Airbnb?
There are some scams that you can protect yourself against. One of these is the request to make a security deposit on the spot. You should never agree to this and make the payment through Airbnb instead. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of your potential renters before agreeing to anything else. This will give you some evidence should they decide not to follow through with their end of the agreement.
Airbnb is a great way to make some extra money on your house, but as with anything online, there’s always the possibility of scams. With all the different ways scammers can try to take advantage of you and your home, it’s important to know what they are in order to protect yourself. Learn more about “How to increase booking rate on Airbnb?“.
Protect Yourself From Scams Cleaning
Often times when people inquire about staying in your home, they’ll offer to pay for cleaning. This is a common scam technique as it gives the fake renters an excuse not to pay you after they’ve already left your property. The best way to avoid this problem is by always requiring that all renters provide their own cleaning service. Never let someone else do it for them unless you’re sure about who they are and that they have experience with Airbnb rentals like yours.
“Too Good To Be True”
One of the most common scammers will ask you if you would rent out your property at a very low rate or for long periods of time. This is because traditional rental rates don’t give potential tenants enough time or money back in return for their investment, so once they get into your home, they will pretend that something went wrong and then demand more money from you.
The best way to protect yourself from this type of scam is by requesting references from prospective tenants who want to stay for more than one day before accepting their offer.
Avoid Common Ways Scammers Try to Rip Off Airbnb Hosts
There are many ways a person can scam an Airbnb host, but here are a few of the most common strategies that scammers use to make money off the hosts. The first is to ask for a deposit and then never show up — no one wants to part with their hard-earned money, so this type of scam is fairly successful.
The second method is to find out where the host lives and then rent it out themselves online. You may have to work on your trust in order to be taken advantage of by a scammer who uses this strategy. Another popular way for scammers to acquire your property is by asking for more time than you allow with the understanding that they’ll pay extra fees. This type of request will likely come from someone who’s not interested in renting your place at all, but just wants to live there for free.
Is It Easy to Get Scammed on Airbnb?
It’s easy to get scammed on Airbnb. One of the most common ways to get scammed on Airbnb is by someone paying in cash. If you’re hosting your home, you should only accept payment by credit card or PayPal. That way, if they try to take off with your money, you have some recourse. But, not all scams are that obvious.
Another common scam is when a guest lists the wrong address, then leaves early without warning and tries to avoid being traced by Airbnb. They might also be up-front about their plans to leave early and say they can’t refund any money as they’ve already spent it elsewhere.
While these scams are often easy to spot and avoid, there are also more sophisticated ones that can take place over time. If you’ve been hosting for a while, you may be contacted by a potential renter who seems trustworthy at first glance but asks for an unusually large deposit or goes into detail about how the rental process works so that you won’t catch on to their scamming ways until too late.
These scams usually happen after hours when people are less likely to notice suspicious activity like long wait times for responses or sudden changes in contact information.
The Most Common Airbnb Scam Techniques to Avoid
There are a variety of scams or ways to scam Airbnb hosts. The most common Airbnb scam technique is for the scammer to claim that they didn’t receive the payment and then ask for it again. After the host sends more money, the scammer never follows through on their end. Almost every other day, there’s someone who sees an opportunity and tries to take advantage of new hosts.
The “host’s Payment” Scam
The “host’s Payment” scam is one of the most common Airbnb scams. In this scam, a prospective guest asks to pay you in advance. They might offer to send you money via PayPal or give you an account number to transfer the money into. The problem? After they pay you, they will never show up at your home. What can you do to protect yourself from this scam?
Be wary of any prospective guests who make these requests. If someone offers payment in advance, tell them that most Airbnb hosts request payment after the stay because it provides more security for both parties. This way, if something goes awry with the booking, both parties have some recourse for recouping their losses.
The “refund Request” Scam
The most common scam on the Airbnb platform is the refund request scam. When a guest contacts you to say that they have an emergency and need to cancel their stay, they will often ask for a refund. After all, these guests have every intention of staying at your home when they make their initial booking. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly what happens. They’ll send you an email with a fake story about how their car broke down or how their grandmother died unexpectedly. The goal? To try to get a full refund of the money they paid for your home without actually canceling the reservation.
To protect yourself from this scam, be sure that you never issue refunds before receiving confirmation from Airbnb that there was indeed a cancellation. This way, if anyone tries to weasel out of their reservation and try to get a refund from you instead, you can report them for fraud, which could lead to an investigation by the Airbnb enforcement team and expulsion from the site.
The “will Write References” Scam
One of the most common scams is the “will write references” scam. Scammers will email you and offer to write you a reference in return for a cut of your earnings. They may even go as far as contacting previous hosts on behalf of new guests. In this case, they are simply trying to get access to your Airbnb account so they can steal your earnings.
But, what they will do is contact previous hosts with an email that says something like “I’m looking for a place to stay and I saw your listing on Airbnb. It sounds great. Can you please write me a reference? I’ll give you $5 for it.” What the scammer has done is set up an account with an email address that looks very similar to yours or even created a fake email address with the same name as yours.
The “fake Reviews” Scam
It’s not uncommon for Airbnb hosts to receive messages from fake users requesting a stay at their homes. These scam artists will typically claim that they’re arriving in town and want to book a few nights right away. They may even offer you a higher price than your listing in an attempt to convince you.
However, once you give them the go-ahead, they disappear without payment. The “fake reviews” scam is often attempted by those who want to use their free time as an Airbnb host as a way to pad their online profile so they can rent their own home for more money. These scammers will create fake profiles with glowing reviews and then message hosts on Airbnb with the goal of convincing them to let them stay for free under the guise of being a potential future renter or even a real customer looking for feedback on how well your place is maintained.
The “over-represented City” Scam
One of the most common scams is what’s called the “over-represented City” scam. Scammers will find a popular city in which there isn’t an oversupply of Airbnb listings and create fake listings for their own properties to extort unsuspecting hosts. Many times, these scammers will have a high booking rate with reviews from other hosts to make their list seem legitimate and trustworthy.
They know that if they claim to be from the same location as you are, you may be more likely to trust them than someone who just contacted you out of nowhere. The best way to avoid this is by making sure that your profile says where you live so potential guests can see if they’re in the same area. If they are, it
The “it’s Not for Sale” Scam
This is a scam that can take many forms, but the most common involves someone reaching out to you claiming they want to buy your home. They may ask you how much you’re looking to sell it for, they may ask you if they can see it or they may even offer to buy the property without meeting it in person. What’s really happening? They are using a fake identity or stolen credit card or funds to put down on the sale of your home and then disappear with the money once they receive the deed.
You find yourself legally obligated to follow through with the sale without any intention of doing so. How do you protect yourself? When anyone reaches out about buying your home, insist on meeting in person first before proceeding with a sale. If someone refuses this request, be skeptical about their intentions. It’s always best to meet in person before signing any paperwork and handing over any money.
The “we’re Moving!” Scam
One of the more popular scams is the “we’re Moving!” scam. This is when a scammer contacts you about renting your home for a few days, but then doesn’t show up or respond to any messages. If you were to notice that this person has taken your key and disappeared, call Airbnb’s emergency line immediately. These scammers often use fake profiles and will quickly disappear without notifying their host.
The “i’ll Send You Proof” Scam
One of the most common scams on Airbnb is the “i’ll send you proof” scam. Here, a scammer will offer to pay a large amount of money – like $100,000 – for your home in exchange for sending them pictures and videos of your property. The scammer will say they need this information to finalize the sale with their client and that they want to rent your home for a short time before buying it.
What they don’t tell you is that there are no clients and that they plan on taking off with your money and never renting your home. If you receive an email like this, ignore it! You should also report it as spam or delete it from your inbox.
What Happens if I Get Scammed on Airbnb?
For those of you who are new to the world of Airbnb, a scammer could be lurking just around the corner. Scammers target hosts by sending messages and booking reservations that they never intend to honor, hoping that the host will either cancel or not respond in time. If this happens, the host is left with an empty house and no income.
Worse yet, if a scammer successfully checks into your home and then damages it, you may be responsible for their actions on top of the money you already lost from your canceled reservation. There are many different things that might happen when a scammer messages you about renting your space on Airbnb.
One common type of scam is called “overbooking”. This occurs when someone contacts you about renting your space and makes multiple reservations without any intention of showing up. The reason they do this is that they want to keep all the other rooms while also keeping yours booked so that they can earn commissions themselves.
What to Do if You Get Scammed on Airbnb?
The first step you should take if you get scammed on Airbnb is to contact the police. If you choose to let your host stay in your home, it’s important to keep a careful eye on them. Of course, this isn’t always possible. However, if you notice anything off about the person or their behavior, it’s best to contact the Airbnb customer service department and let them know what happened.
If you are scammed on Airbnb, there are a few steps you can take to regain control of your account.
1. Report the scammer to Airbnb
2. Change your email and password
3. Unlink your Facebook account from Airbnb
4. Update your phone number and contact information
5. Remove all listings you don’t want to be listed on Airbnb
You can also file a complaint and request that they cancel any payments made to the scammer. If you ever feel like you may be dealing with a scammer or someone who could possibly be using your house for something illegal or dangerous, give Airbnb customer service a call before doing anything else! They’ll be happy to help figure out what’s going on, and will do everything they can to make sure the situation is resolved quickly and safely.
Tips for Protecting Yourself From Rental Scams on Airbnb
We’ve all seen the horror stories about someone finding out their home has been ransacked, or worse, after renting to a stranger. That’s why it’s important to take precautions to avoid being scammed by renters. Here are a few simple tips that can help you protect yourself from potential scams:
1. Aim for professional and responsible hosts. If the person you’re considering renting your home to doesn’t seem legitimate or is too pushy, move on to the next applicant.
2. Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. If they’re going to stay a short amount of time in your home at an all-inclusive price, this may not be what you bargained for when listing your property on Airbnb. Likewise, if the renter wants a very specific price without any mention of what’s included with their offer and you feel like you’re being tricked by them, back off and keep looking for another renter who is more trustworthy.
3. Prioritize safety over money. This is easier said than done when faced with an appealing offer but don’t allow emotions to get in the way of safety. The safety of your family comes first!
It’s not always easy to spot these scams before they happen.
But there are some ways you can protect yourself:
- Clearly state the number of nights available on your listing so that people cannot trick you into renting your home for longer than you want.
- Ask for an upfront payment from renters instead of letting them pay after they stay with you to avoid any scams where people might take off with your money without returning the keys.
- Do an inspection before giving out the keys and collecting the rental fee by asking for ID or any other documentation (e.g., credit card) as a way to verify who’s renting from you.
Airbnb is a promising way to earn extra income. By renting out your home, you can make some money while also helping someone find the perfect place to stay. But, like any other rental market, there’s always the potential for scams to take advantage of gullible hosts.
The Final Word: How to Protect Your Airbnb Earnings
Whether you’re looking for a way to earn some extra cash or just want the experience of hosting guests, becoming an Airbnb host is a great way. But with all rental markets comes potential scams and scammers looking to take advantage of gullible hosts. Thankfully, by knowing these common scam techniques and how they work, you can prevent yourself from getting scammed and keep your earnings safe!
When someone contacts you about renting your home on Airbnb for the first time, be sure to ask for references. You should also contact those references before agreeing to rent your home out to them. It may not always be possible to verify their identity beforehand, but you can use these references as the first line of defense against a scammer.
Learn more on how to start a successful Airbnb business.
One more thing you should double-check? The person’s address and phone number. Scammers often provide fake information in order to trick unsuspecting hosts into renting their homes out. They might say they live overseas or want to rent your home while they travel through town—both are pretty easy lies to spot if you know what information is accurate and what isn’t.