Airbnb scam

Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:25 AM
  #61  
 
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skKnowles, You said you used flipkey. Did you think that was related to Airbnb?

Want to add that I had to cancel a trip and forgot to cancel a reservation for an apartment until after I was supposed to have checked in. The owner had already been paid. She offered to refund the money or give me credit for a stay at another time. She did not have to do either. I took the credit. That was one of the apartments I stayed at in Provence. Wonderful experience. One apartment, I booked the day before arrival, then had several phone conversations with the owner to be sure it would be a good situation. It was better than good, a whole little house in a great area.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 11:52 AM
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"She hacked the site"

I'm not buying any hacking accusations, either. If you have the talent to hack Airbnb, and figure out a way to divert money from their multi-layered deposit/payment system, why bother with such chump change? If I was a criminal with that level of hacking talent, I'd be looking at much bigger fish.

"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"

Airbnb members know there is no need for private conversation away from the site. It's the people who are unfamiliar with Airbnb, the newbies, who don't realize the property prices aren't set in stone. Every property owner has the ability to change the nightly price within Airbnb's system. If you want to negotiate the price with any owner, Airbnb allows you to have that conversation but they want to keep those conversations within the system. I think that's genius, too.

To permit most aspects of communication between landlord and customer is why Airbnb has garnered such rapid success. This in-house communication encourages safety, prevents fraud, and helps to build the community. Think about it, if there is no need to negotiate a price outside the system, why risk making a deal with someone outside the system?

I guess there are customers who don't want to pay the Airbnb fee. Then I have to ask, is saving the $100 (or less) fee worth the risk of dealing with a criminal?

From my perspective, it seems Airbnb enthusiasts support each other and protect each other. It really is becoming a true community with a collective ethos and mission. Once you join, and see how their system is set up, it's very difficult to resist. I resisted for several years until a co-worker told me about his success. Then I saw the Charlie Rose interview and I became a convert. I wish I had a home to rent.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:12 PM
  #63  
 
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I have used Airbnb with great success but almost was scammed this week!

It was an apartment in Naples, a legitimate listing. I had been going back and forth with the owner through the Airbnb messaging (portal) about the cost, since it wasn't clear to me (it was posted in dollars on the American site, but evidently she thought it was in Euros). Anyway we were working this out when I suddenly got a message through the portal that the amount I suggested would be the amount she would rent if for, a good deal for me.

The catch was that I was to send my full name and address to an email address, but I didn't only because I wanted to wait a day or too to confirm my dates. I should have realized the email was a scam because I saw similar scams when I was selling an item on Craig's list. For some reason they don't type an "@" in the email address, but a "()".

Anyway, the owner messaged me the next day in a panic, not to respond to that message that she didn't write it. She could only get onto the site by her phone, not through her computer because they had evidently gotten into the BnB site and changed her email address.

I was relieved and chagrined that I would have ignored the warning posted automatically under every message warning me not to answer any email outside the site. I think my excitement about a bargain blinded me.

She finally got back to me and offered me a reduction, a nice one, I think because of what had happened, but I eventually decided to pick another apartment.

I will continue to use AirBnb with confidence - if you stick with the guidelines it's very safe. I even had a hard time joining, I had to call them to become a member.

I feel bad for those who were taken advantage of - I had a close call.

Baz
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 12:52 PM
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"if you stick with the guidelines it's very safe"

Bazonia, your post only encourages more questions and I don't have time to ask them. I'm glad to hear you didn't bite.

It's been my experience that any typing that even remotely looks like an email address will be rejected by the Airbnb software. It almost sounds to me like the computer on the Naples end may have been compromised, which often gets lumped into the hacking category.

In the FAQs, members are informed that contact information for both parties will not be revealed until after the payment is made to Airbnb. So members know that any attempt to acquire this information ahead of time should be viewed as a serious red flag.

Anyone can test this out. Become a member and try to send an email address to another member, using every style of address you can create. You'll quickly see what happens.

Once more and more users figure out how Airbnb works, they'll know what red flags to look out for.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 02:23 AM
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This is a real scan as it has just happened to my friend 2200 euro gone.
There is no point of all you smart people saying oh Airbnb works like this blah blah blah and you would of been smarter not to send money anywhere.
The point is this , the scammers have somehow hacked the contact owner button on the real airbnb site or hacked the search function, either way they have found a way to redirect traffic to them. There must be hosting somewhere so that could be a way of tracking them.
If you are a new user you follow the instructions and when you are told to wire money for payment it is natural to assume its ok as this is AIRBNB after all and they are great.
I can only say that all persons should read eveything carefully but of course we dont that how scams get away with it and Airbnb have a huge responsibility to do something about this because if they dont and this scam starts to get out people will just go to another website whos coding is a little better and less hackable.
I love the Airbnd model asI host many apartments on it but when I see this scam and the lack of sympathy shown to victims and that this has been going on for such a long time without being halted then for my Airbnb have failed miserably.
SHAME ON YOU AIRBNB.
I think all persons who have been hit should get in touch with each other and petition Airbnd to take responsibility and push t stop these scammers because as I see it they are doing nothing and they have the power and resources t do something.
My email is [email protected] if anyone want to share, I will be helping my friend through this.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:26 AM
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Its been said often, but obviously not often enough, as is apparent from numerous victims' stories:

NEVER WIRE TRANSFER OR EMAIL MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW.

Use PayPal or a credit card which will take the hit if the recipient is not legit. If everyone did this, I'll bet it would go a long way to putting the fraudsters out of business.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #67  
 
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>If you are a new user you follow the instructions and when you are told to wire money for payment it is natural to assume its ok<

Natural to assume? Tons of people do not read directions. Is that really someone else's fault? I'm reminded of the lawsuits regarding immersion stick hand blenders. If a customer chooses not to read the manufacturer's directions, the user might lose a few fingers the hard way. How does any company force a shopper to be smarter?

I became a new Airbnb member just a short while ago and I was a skeptic. I came to them by word of mouth. Several friends insisted that payment goes through Airbnb. No such thing as a wire transfer. I was doubtful. I had to see for myself.

I suppose any successful website has vulnerabilities. Maybe Airbnb can do more to safeguard its servers. I don't know anyone personally who has experienced this scam. If a customer reads the instructions, you quickly learn how to protect yourself. Airbnb is a piece of cake compared to figuring out Ebay.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2013, 04:55 AM
  #68  
 
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It says quite clearly on the airbnb site that "PAYING OUTSIDE THE AIRBNB SYSTEM IS NOT SECURE".

If someone is so careless as to ignore the warnings on the site, and so clueless as to not know that wiring money is a dangerous practice they are liable to pay for their folly. It is not airbnb's fault if someone ignores their procedures.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 01:13 PM
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Hi
I am an Airbnb host and I would like to warn EVERYBODY that the Airbnb website has been subject to widespread hacking.
On the weekend I received an email from Airbnb saying that my password had been changed. I had not changed it, so I went to my Airbnb account and found that it was now assoicated with a password ending in psx829.eu (nothing to do with me).
Also, there were now 2 other FABULOUS and very expensive properties listed under my name which had nothing to do with me. Presumably, the new email address was receiving enquiries for these properties which probably don't even exist.
Fortunately, I changed my password immediately but then the following day I received 2 enquiries for yet another property which was also not mine and had been added to my listing in the meantime. If I had not seen the email telling me my email had been changed I would not have been aware of this.
But Airbnb allowed the email change to happen in the first place by only asking the criminal to confirm the NEW address.
They did not email me at my old email address first to confirm that I was making this change. If hosts don't check their email on an hourly basis then the timeframe for guests getting conned is much greater.
If criminals are able to hack into hosts accounts and add properties, then presumably they are also able to hack around the Airbnb controls which stop hosts and guests communicating directly outside of their website.
Fortunately my bank account details haven't been changed (as far as I can tell) but I have found other examples online of hosts not being able to access their own accounts and receive money that guests have paid to them (perhaps because their bank account details have also been changed).
I have not had any response yet to my emails from Airbnb so I don't know what action they are taking to prevent this happening.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 01:14 PM
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In the comment I just left, the second sentence should have read
that I received an email from Airbnb saying that my EMAIL ADDRESS had been changed. (NOT MY PASSWORD)
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Luckabee: Maybe this should be on its own thread, not on a topping of an old thread. Did you cancel your entire account?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 08:30 PM
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Thank you, Luakabee, for posting that information. We are Airbnb host, too, and we will be checking our accounts closely.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 10:11 PM
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Luakabee, a very interesting side to this story - insight into how people are guided onto the phony listings. I think it's the first we've heard about the mechanics of it and how hosts are caught up in the scams. I have no doubt that the company will adjust to cope. If only the scammers could put their creativity to use in a legitimate way they'd likely get rich instead of the peanuts they must now "earn".
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 01:58 AM
  #74  
 
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Hang on a minute.....the way airbnb operates, all payments are held in escrow until AFTER the guest has arrived at the apartment. 24 whole hours in fact. So how would scammers get their payment, even assuming they'd managed to insert false properties on an existing account and swap their bank details for the real host. It just wouldn't happen.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 02:18 AM
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Yes that is the way airbnb operates when things work correctly.
The whole point of being a hacker is that you are able to get inside the system and change the normal operation of a website.
Scammers are piggy-backing onto legitimate host sites, posting false listings (of fabulous properties) and instead of communication going via airbnb they are diverting it straight to their own email accounts and asking guests to pay them directly. The real host is unaware of any of this.
I only became aware of this when I checked my own listing and found several luxury penthouses on my site that I do not own.
You are right that this CANNOT happen under normal circumstances, but that is what the hackers are doing. Don't ask me how they are doing - I'm not a hacker.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 05:21 AM
  #76  
 
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Well, that still says that you have to communicate outside the airbnb site, AND PAY outside the site, for the hack to work, no?
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 06:30 AM
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Odd that at least three different first and only time posters on this thread have weighed in to support the OP (also first and only post to date, a year later) contention.

Odd that sites like VRBO.com, where it would be entirely possible to scam someone with for instance a nonexistent apartment, do not get similarly trashed here.

We use airbnb as directed on the website, have been very lucky so far.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 11:07 AM
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Airbnb is definitely stirring up the industry. It's their $100 (or less) cancellation fee that's never been tried before, which is making them a ton of money. Also, holding full payment (sometimes over a year) makes them richer than anyone else. You might as well call them a bank.

It also helps that Airbnb attracts the most serious customers in the playing field. Serious customers tend to be smarter customers. What business wouldn't want those? Add to that their strict in-house policies and user-friendly interface - all in the name of community building - and watch Airbnb's formula be the envy of all.

It's no surprise Airbnb will have competitors worried about their future. Hosts with the best properties are flocking to Airbnb because they want their customers. Seeing first-time posters eager to scream "scam" every chance they get is no surprise. I question any mention of Airbnb "scam" when paying outside the system is at the center of a poster's story.

Why would any thief or hacker want to jump through so many hoops, bypass so many walls, with so little money to gain? Many of these scan stories don't make any sense. But some people are gullible.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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I would suggest their competitors improve their game.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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"I would suggest their competitors improve their game."

What should these competitors do? Turn a blind eye to apartment/homeowners renting out residences in violation of city laws and/or building/HOA rules? That practice seems to be a key part of the AirBnB's success in New York, their number one market.
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