How To Thwart Airbnb Scammers
More and more people are turning to Airbnb homes to spend a vacation in. However, if you come across a vacation home listing that sounds too good to be true, you may want to do your homework. Carry out a reverse Google image search to ensure the listed home pictures are not from a stock site.
It would be great if going on vacation was easy to do – get a cheap flight, no flight delays, no lumpy mattress in your hotel, etc. However, most people understand that perfect trips are far and few between.
Travel plans are thwarted due to political unrest or weather. Or, it could be the result of an unscrupulous scam.
For instance, there are numerous fraudulent TripAdvisor reviews that are designed to entice you to eat somewhere that’s less than ideal. Or, it could be a hacker getting into your frequent flyer account and stealing miles. The worst scam of all is the vacation rental that looks good on “paper,” but when you show up, it’s not dwelling you saw in the picture. And, if you put money toward the place ahead of time (like you’re supposed to), you could be out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.
What Can You Do To Not Fall Victim To Airbnb Scams?
Although, according to Airbnb, rental scams are far and few between, you still should protect yourself as much as you can. What can you do?
Rent Only Verified Homes
While the majority of online rental home companies’ vetting process is minimal, the recent problems Airbnb has had is leading to a better verification process. The company has already begun verifying the seven million listings on its set, and by Dec. 15, 2020, every home and host will be Airbnb-verified.
There is no word if on-site inspections will be a part of the verification process, but homes and hosts will need to meet specific standards to remain Airbnb-qualified. Other premium sites will conduct in-person sites to verify the home’s quality, which will give you some peace of mind of their legitimacy.
You want a listing with numerous positive reviews, and avoid any place with no reviews or those with negative ones. You should always consider previous guests’ feedback to ensure a listing is being portrayed accurately.
Ignore Too Good Listings
Chances are a four-bedroom New York City penthouse isn’t going to rent for a $100 a night. Therefore, ignore any listing that sounds too good to be true. Do a search on average nightly prices of rental places. And, if you’re still unsure of a listing, consider a reverse image search via Google. You want to make sure that the home hasn’t been taken from some stock image site.
Research The Host
Airbnb will verify its host using various methods – government IDs, phone numbers and email addresses. Be sure to look over their profile to see if these things have been uploaded. Airbnb does not thoroughly vet hosts in this manner, which is why you should be mindful of what a host has provided (and not provided).
Other Things To Be Mindful Of
- Never go outside the vacation rental site to contact the host before you book.
- Ensure you’re on the right URL before you book. Many scam sites have been created to look identical to trick unsuspecting customers.
- Don’t pay cash. Always use a debit or credit card to pay for the booking via the website of the rental company. Do not use an app or wire transfer to conduct the transaction.
- Learn what rights you have in terms of payment protection, rebooking assistance, security deposit, etc.
Written by contributor Susan Powell. Source: Lifehacker