Airbnb scam

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Jun 26th, 2013, 06:03 AM
  #41
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 23,704
"but I got official AirBNB letters that everything is fine and paid the "AirBNB" bank account. "

Please explain. How, exactly, did you pay the "AirBNB bank account"? Didn't you use a credit card, and if not, why not? And since payments aren't released by AirBNB until 24 hours after you arrive at the rental, what exactly went wrong?
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Jun 26th, 2013, 08:07 AM
  #42
 
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"After all this I would just avoid AirBNB."

If I wanted to buy a book on what I thought was the Amazon website and was told by them to wire money to their bank account would it not seems unusual? Would I do it without investigating further? Is not the usual method of paying for things on an American website by credit card? Yes, one can avoid AirBnB without depriving oneself much but I'd think it a better course of action to begin to think more and use a little common sense.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 09:21 AM
  #43
 
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That would be true if it were the first AirBNB concern. There are many other reliable apartment websites and of course I would be diligent but this one just has too many incidences and I just don't want to deal with it. If someone like DebitNM recommends an apartment I would look into it but otherwise I'm just not going on that site.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 09:34 AM
  #44
 
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"...I'm just not going on that site."

Much easier than widening one's horizons, to be sure. Play it safe, an additional decision-making tool. One cannot argue with that approach.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #45
 
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I guess you're avoiding VRBO, then. It has had a lot more of these incidents than AirBNB has. In any case, so far I haven't seen one of these scams that doesn't involve WIRING money, in direct violation of at least AirBNB's regulations.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 10:23 AM
  #46
 
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Thank you for the "exception" Micheline. If you ever plan to be in Anacortes, WA ----- Our place usually is at the top of the list when you search.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 10:57 AM
  #47
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Well, my only foray into the world of AirBNB was very successful, and I have stayed at the house twice now, and am in regular email contact with the owner.

Fellow Fodorite RM67 recently used AirBNB in Barcelona and was very happy with her apartment. My daughter has used AirBNB in Paris for two different apartments and been happy enough with them, and also in Riga and Hamburg with no problems.

If you have been scammed then that is very bad luck, and you are unfortunate. But there are many success stories out there, and your situation shouldn't necessarily deter people from at least looking at what is available on AirBNB.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 03:14 PM
  #48
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
July 2013: This place here has a difficult-to-detect scam:
http://www.helena-agency.biz/

I found a listing on AirBNB and contacted the host through AirBNB. In their reply, they somehow got their website to show in the correspondence window (but I knew from experience that AirBNB does not allow email and websites to show within correspondence on AirBNB.)

So, interesting observation number 1: their website successfully showed up in their reply inside the AirBNB correspondence area. They asked me to reach them at their website instead.

I went to http://www.helena-agency.biz/, which is a very lovely website. Look at it. It looks so legitimate! They have two physical offices. I googled their business name and could not find anything. That was interesting observation number 2. Not a peep about them on the web outside of their own website. The google maps street view for their office in France shows a truck parked in front of where the business is supposed to be, so no reassurance via google street view.

Suspcious, but not completely turned off, I contact them through their website and they write back the next day to say the place is available. They will send me the link to the invoice by email at my request, which will take me back to their website for payment options. Interesting observation number 3: this great apartment was available at somewhat short notice.

The correspondence is never pushy, they don’t send me things, they ask me if I want them to send it, etc. Very smooth and business-like.

Payment options include PayPal and credit card. Before I pay, I decide that since I can‘t find a peep about them online (not a thing!) I will go to www.whois.com to see who owns the domain. BINGO! The domain was registered seven days ago. How can a seemingly established business have a website created only seven days ago?

I wrote them back to ask them to suggest how I could become confident that they are legitimate. I have not heard back, of course.

Be wary my friends. Stay within airbnb.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 03:42 PM
  #49
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,990
As long as you do everything through the Airbnb portal, you should be ok. This is because the agency holds your funds in escrow and the renter of the property does not get their hands on them until you have been in situ for 24hrs.

I specifically picked this company when going to Barcelona because I had read of scams with other agencies where upon arrival people are told their accommodation is unavailable and they are offered inferior accommodation.

I found the choice of properties excellent, the detailed candid reviews from other customers very helpful, and the Airbnb staff really good on the occasions I contacted them with queries.

To reiterate, book through the official portal only, and make sure you have confirmation of this. The system is set up to link all your emails regarding a specific property and you get a detailed itinerary and breakdown of costs if it has all gone through correctly.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 03:45 PM
  #50
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
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Btw, for what it's worth Paypal are very good at refunding when you have problems as a customer - probably quicker and easier than going through Visa or your bank, so though you obviously should not go outside the Airbnb portal, had you erroneously done so, you very likely would have recovered your funds without a great deal of effort.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 02:29 PM
  #51
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
You were a victim of international wire fraud. Please email the FBI where you'll fill out a form with your contact information and an explanation of what happened. It all helps them catch the bad guys. Good luck.
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Jul 31st, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #52
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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I was the object of a fraud using AIRBNB in July 30th....of course it was my own fault, didn't read well the instructions, first time user...but a couple of comments

1- I received instructions, apparently from AIRBNB to wire to AIRBNB to Barclays UK....I thought I was wiring to AIRBNB, but was not the case! The "host" somehow faked an e-mail with all the look of AIRBNB...

It seems someone else opened an account under the AIRBNB namet, I am not sure how they can do that, but it stated AIRBNB as the account beneficiary. I would have never sent to the host directly. The Fraud department at Barclays UK is analyzing the situation at this time

2- The "host" sent a his/her mail to contact directly, but it included errors in the spelling (y a h 0 0. c 0 m), used zeros and spaces, that is how AIRBNB software didn't catch it.

Be aware! Never wire money to an account of "AIRBNB"!, it can still be a scam. Only use the platform and credit cards or paypal ....and Never contact the host directly!

I believe AIRBNB offers a great product (I rented an apartment AFTER the scam and went great) but customer service was poor, plenty of automated responses and never a real answer.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 07:00 AM
  #53
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
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I was the object of the same kind of fraud you are describing now in december 2013. I am very surprised that airbnb are not doing anything to prevent this from happening. They need better customer support and they need to secure this trap by not making newbies communicate to the scammers directly. By doing that they prevent scammers using the site. I heard from them yesterday and was told that the person that took my money, did that to many others and her account has been closed. Now I dont even see our communications on airbnb anymore. She hacked the site even and I have screenshot and mails of everything. BE AWARE!!!!!
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 07:45 AM
  #54
 
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At every possible opportunity Airbnb warns users to not communicate or do business off-site. In my experience their customer service could not be better. Crooks are adept at circumventing controls so if you send money directly to the scammers rather than paying through the site as instructed I'm not sure what they can do beyond putting out the fires as they break out. If it's your money that started the fire it's a shame but it was preventable.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 08:46 AM
  #55
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 262
I'm not buying any Airbnb scam talk without proof and solid verification. I have friends who have been using it for years with great success. I recently joined and couldn't believe the amount of how-to reading I had to absorb. Airbnb has several layers of user verification. If someone did join with intention to scam, their profile would stand out like a sore thumb with all kinds of red flags.

I don't see how it is possible to communicate with a member before you pay AirBnB. Their software deletes all URLs and email addresses. It's very strict. Even if you spell out dot com, their software sounds the alarm.

Members pay Airbnb directly via credit card. There's no such thing as a wire transfer to a property owner or to Airbnb. As others have said, Airbnb keeps the full payment until 24 hrs after check-in, to insure customer satisfaction. IMO, it's a genius way of doing business and making money.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:46 AM
  #56
 
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Airbnb keeps the full payment until 24 hrs after check-in, to insure customer satisfaction
How does that ensure customer satisfaction? Why is it the only listing website that does that. All the others like Booking, Expedia, Ownersdirect and the 100s of other similar websites all work very very differently.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:49 AM
  #57
 
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"How does that ensure customer satisfaction?"

If the customer isn't satisfied, the owner doesn't get paid.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:50 AM
  #58
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,770
Exactly what Wesleymarsh said! We have been Airbnb hosts for the past four years, and while people have tried to game the system with us by trying to get around the need to go through Airbnb to talk to us directly before they book, none have been successful.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 10:50 AM
  #59
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 262
"How does that ensure customer satisfaction?"

If a customer shows up to find the property is not as advertised, filthy, flooded, or in disrepair, etc., the customer can contact customer service and submit a claim. Airbnb says they will assist in finding an immediate replacement property, and the original landlord will not get paid. Your in-advance payment will go to the replacement property owner, even if the second property costs more.

I don't know anyone personally who has encountered a problem. I've read that a situation like this is very rare. But there is evidence of this happening to one or two members, and they claim they were happy with Abnb customer service and the resolution.

I saw the owners of Airbnb on Charlie Rose. Very interesting interview. They have a mission to form a very strong community around the world. They presented the most impressive concept of travel housing I've ever seen. If it truly takes off, as it seems to be doing, I think places like VRBO will be history, and Airbnb will rule the field.
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Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:11 AM
  #60
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,091
I think sometimes people may try to go around the website so they do not have to pay the Airbnb booking fee.

I was amazed at the sign-up info required by Airbnb. All instructions clearly state that when you join, you agree to make all contacts through Airbnb and to make all payments to Airbnb.

The 24 hrs after check-in payment is to insure that if you do not like a property when you arrive, and you notify Airbnb immediately, the owner will not receive payment. This is great protection for the renter. Of course, you can not stay in the apartment, then refuse to pay.

I used Airbnb a few weeks ago for two different apartments in Provence and was extremely pleased with the outcome. They are now my go-to source for apartments. Of course, I check and double check as much as possible that the apartment will be to my liking. I also have several conversations with the owners prior to booking and after booking so I feel comfortable.
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