Airbnb scam

Old Jan 30th, 2013, 11:06 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,065
I would not return to the thread when everyone says "impossible."
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 11:11 AM
  #22  
 
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Michael, what's "impossible?"
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 11:31 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,867
Ok, I just went to the AirBnB listing. I tried to put a link to this thread in a message to the owner, thinking he might want to respond. When I tried to submit it, I got a pop up block that said, " it appears as though you entered a website, phone number, or email address. This information cannot be exchanged until the booking is complete for your protection. Scams can only occur if you exchange money outside of the system. Please edit your message and try again."

There was the same post on tripadvisor.uk which was deleted by TA.
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Old Jan 30th, 2013, 03:34 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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what's "impossible?"

Meaning "it can't be", which is the gist of all the replies. DebitNM's last post would have been most appropriate to begin a discussion with the OP, asking if he did not get the warning.
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 04:38 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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I just had the same thing happen to me today with the same apartment. I must have gone on airbnb's website a week or so ago. Today I received an email thanking me for my request. I didn't remember the request, but I have been looking at so many apartments and websites I can't keep track. The apartment looked beautiful, but I was already in negotiations for another apartment. "Pascal Mike" said make me an offer. I didn't realize Airbnb is only supposed to be negotiated on their website because I really didn't remember their website. Anyway, I made an offer and "Mike" accepted. He then asked for my address so he could send me a contract. Well, he sent me the contract and something didn't look right to me. The address was different then on the website. When I hit map on his website 137 Rue du Temple appeared, but his contract said Rue du Temple #37. I emailed this scam artist and said is the contract for #37, which if you google looks shady and a totally different outside appearance than 137, and he said yes, but don't worry. Well, I worried and emailed him that the outside looked totally different from his website. His website shows a beautiful living room with 3 enormous windows overlooking an intersection. 37 Rue du Temple has 2 windows and no intersection. I then looked up a customer service phone number for Airbnb, which was not easy to locate, but I eventually found. I called them and told them what happened. They were happy I did not make a bank transfer and opened a scam report. I forwarded all of my emails, regarding this scam artist, to them. I am happy that I caught this scam, but realize that many people will not. That is why I am posting this with any catch phrases that will help prevent future theft. Here is the original email from "Pascal Mike":

Thank you very much for your booking request.
> We have, however, a lot of requests that come in daily for the apartment
> and would request, if possible, a speedy reply.
>
> Deluxe Home In The Heart Of Paris ! (Web address:
> https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/532723 ) is currently available for your dates
> Mar 25, 2013 - Mar 29, 2013 (4 nights).
>
> We have a special offer. The breakdown would be as follows:
>
> $ 1,600.00
> $ 0.00 (Departure Cleaning Fee)
> ------------
> $ 1,600.00 +
> - 30% (Discount for special offer only)
> ------------
> $ 1,120.00 (TOTAL/Tax included)
>
> Cancellation 100% refundable 15 Days prior to arrival.
>
> Rate is inclusive of:
> Airport transfers, round trip.
> Daily housekeeping.
> Wireless internet access.
> Free Laundry service.
>
> For this special offer payment of $ 1,120.00 must be completed within 7
> days (to secure this booking).
>
> If you would like to proceed I will just need your home address for the
> contract and I will forward as e-mail attachment.
>
> Airport Transfers:
>
> Through popular demand we are offering Round trip airport transfers by our
> private driver to pick-you up at the airport upon your arrival.
>
> Check in & check out:
> Check in time is 1 pm and check out 11 am (there is a flexibility in case
> your plane leaves or arrives at different times) to give the cleaning
> person a chance to properly prepare the apartment for my next guest.
>
>
> Please let me know if you have any questions and how I can further assist
> you.
>
> We look forward to being of service to you.
>
>
> Kind regards,
> Pascal Mike

I hope this is helpful, plus here is the bank transfer information:
Total Booking Charges: Euro 800
Receiver:
Receiver address:
Fast RNT Services
3, Carew Rd, London , N17 8DL, United Kingdom
Sort Code: 30 84 76
Account #: 52 14 40 68
SWIFT/BIC: LOYDGB21775
IBAN: GB41LOYD 308476 52144068
Bank Name: LLOYDS TSB
Bank Address: 105-109 Station Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7JL, United Kingdom
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 11:05 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,838
I do not see how you could have contacted this chap, or he you, through the Airbnb website. It simply does not work that way. Their software automatically blocks email addresses, telephone numbers, home addresses, etc., until the booking is made, and the money is paid to Airbnb, not the owner.

Something funny here.
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 11:23 PM
  #27  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,867
A first time poster, with the same issue. For an apartment that is showing $531 a NIGHT fee, offering it for half? And as nukesafe says, you cannot get email info via AirBnB until you've paid. Odd...
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Old Feb 19th, 2013, 11:50 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Why don't you email this person and see what happens:
Rental House <[email protected]>? he goes by the name of Pascal Mike and he is offering a beautiful 2 bdrm apt in Le Marais.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 05:54 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2
When you go to the website listed in filippone's posting, note the web address: it is NOT airbnb.com, it is airbnb.ca NOT the legitimate site.

Otherwise, it looks like the real website; I always double check the url's.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 05:56 AM
  #30  
 
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Posts: 2
I'm guessing the person's email account was hacked by someone looking for travel inquiries.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 09:04 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,279
The AirBnB website in the UK is airbnb.co.uk so I'm guessing the url with ca is Canada.

It would be gracious of AirBnB to get on here and explain to us how this was possible as I'm sure they know. Probably not though, "ongoing investigation".
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 09:31 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
I just done a quick check on the airbnb.ca website.
This is the who is details: http://whois.domaintools.com/airbnb.ca
This is the airbnb.com who is: http://whois.domaintools.com/airbnb.com
As one can see two very different registrars.
If you change the language in .com then it becomes something like this:
https://pl.airbnb.com/ This is Polish.
https://fr.airbnb.com/ This is French.
When changing languages there are tow letters in front of website name...well I found that Spanish language website is https://www.airbnb.es/
So it is all very strange.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 03:36 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
I'm posting this, as I was looking to see if a rental I was pursuing was a scam. I was going through the flipkey website when I got an email from a Kevin Smith (generic enough?) with an email address of @rntlaha.com. Same free airport transportation and 20% discount. Requested a wire transfer to a bank in the UK (I am in the US).

Similar to filippone, I received the email without being aware of making the request. My email was very similar and the account information is the same:

Total Booking Charges: $ 720.00
Receiver: BTQ Services STI
Receiver address: 88 Church Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, Merseyside, L21 4LW, UK
Sort Code: 30 84 76
Account #: 52 14 47 60

SWIFT/BIC: LOYDGB21775

IBAN: GB78LOYD 308476 52144760
Bank Name: LLOYDS TSB

Bank Address: 105-109 Station Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7JL, United Kingdom

Although he reported that this information was outdated and to forward it to a different account:

Total Booking Charges: $ 720.00
Receiver: BTQ Services STI
Receiver address: 88 Church Road, Seaforth, Liverpool, Merseyside, L21 4LW, UK
Sort Code: 30 84 76
Account #: 52 14 40 68

SWIFT/BIC: LOYDGB21775

IBAN: GB41LOYD 308476 52144068
Bank Name: LLOYDS TSB

Bank Address: 105-109 Station Road, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7JL, United Kingdom


Thank y'all so much for posting, as you spared me from losing a good deal of money.
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Old Feb 20th, 2013, 05:47 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
I was just checking to see if there was any response to my post. I am happy that I was able to forewarn someone because that was my purpose when initially posting. It's funny that skknowles says they received a proposal from flipkey because I do remember being on that website earlier yesterday prior to the scam event. Anyway, Airbnb contacted me today and alerted me on how to use Airbnb and never receive a proposal offsite. I replied by stating that I already contacted www.actionfraud.police.uk, since the bank receiving funds is located in the UK, and that actionfraud.police.uk may be contacting Airbnb. I gave the police all the information plus the Airbnb "scam ticket #" that they provided me. I also mentioned to Airbnb that they might want to contact the host of the propoerty advertised and see if his computer has been hacked. It seems odd that so many people are receiving proposals for properties they never requested.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 12:44 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
I just got scammed on an apt in Chamonix---I found it on the Airbnb site, I was a newbie, the apt had no reviews and was "new" All the month was green and available. I emailed the owner/scammer re details and I am pretty certain that when I hit the Book Now I got a very official looking confirmation from Airbnphoney) confirming that I am booked and a page was attached giving instruction where to send the Euros to the account of "airbnb" in London Barclays with SWIFT cdes Routing etc. I am sure the scammer hacked the Airbnb site to be able to do what they did. I also had red flags though--no bookings on the calendar, little too anxious as to when funds were being sent,could not find the owner when Googled not even a linkdin or facebook entry. The apt was perfect, maybe too much so. The cost was maybe 10 or 20% less than similar ones but I figured they were new on the site and getting it going.I also got a polite form like email from Airbnb that since I dealt with the owner directly(not really true) its sad but too bad. I am like the one who started this blog--I dont really expect the $ back as I should have been more careful but they really need to get on it or their reputation will be ruined. If uo are happy you tell no one if you are unhappy you tell everyone.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 09:28 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
It's a scam when they won't refund all of your money when you make a cancellation 20-days in advance as I did. Lost over $145.00 (half as due to me in their fine print cancellation clause). From this experience, nothing beats booking a hotel room even if it is way more expensive.
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Old Mar 5th, 2013, 11:43 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,838
Sorry for your loss, Gumsandals but, as in all things, do your homework. I don't see how you can call it a scam, though.

The description of each property on Airbnb quite clearly states the cancellation policy. That policy level is one chosen by the owner, not Airbnb. There are several levels, i.e., Flexible, in which you can cancel with one day's notice and get a full refund, Moderate, where you can get a full refund with five days notice, and Strict, where you get 50% refund if you give a one week notice, and Super Strict (which your rental must have had)in which you get 50% back with 30 days notice. Those are pretty rare; by invitation only, and it costs the host an extra 5% fee. You still have to pay Airbnb their fees for all levels, though.

Look at it from the Hosts' viewpoint. If a renter cancels, you have very little hope of filling that rental period with another guest. It is not like you are a big hotel with lots of rooms, and many people trying to book.

You also have the option of contacting the owner and asking if they might be more lenient, if they buy your extenuating circumstances. We have been doing this for our private guest room for about three years, now, and have only had one party cancel on us. They were nice folks, with a good reason, and we gave them back their money.
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Old Mar 10th, 2013, 09:59 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 1
Unfortunately, this is old news. This scammer has been hitting people who use Homeaway/VRBO for years. Same person, out of London. The marks of the scam are the same. There is a facebook group of victims. Those who hire private counsel get some kind of settlement fro Homeaway/VRBO. You may be able to get the same from Airbnb.



http://www.elliott.org/blog/case-dis...dnt-cover-her/
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...operty-manager
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...-site-vrbo-com
http://www.tnooz.com/2012/05/16/news...not-buying-it/
http://www.capelinks.com/blog/vacati...hishing-scams/
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Hacke...42.S.168530909
http://community.homeaway.com/message/51323
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 05:49 AM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
I would not use AirBNB at all.
I absolutely agree and had a sismilar story, but I got official AirBNB letters that everything is fine and paid the "AirBNB" bank account.

As you mantioned AirBNB got rid of the traces immidiately, the correspondance and played a neutral role when turning to them. Seem like they think that staying neutral accelerates their business.
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Old Jun 26th, 2013, 06:31 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,091
After all this I would just avoid AirBNB. One exception - Nukesafe's place.
I'm in the process of looking for apartments in Spain right now. Thanks to the OP - one has to be thick skinned to post warnings on this site.
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