Airbnb has over 4 million hosts, and 6 million listings, meaning the chances of falling victim to a scam are high.
And since the US has more Airbnbs than any other country in the world, how can Americans spot the warning signs of an Airbnb scam?
With this in mind, industry experts have revealed 5 ways to spot if your Airbnb is a scam, so you’re prepared for your next vacation.
5 ways to spot an Airbnb scam
1 – Hosts pushing for external communication
Hosts including their personal email or phone number in the property description can be a sign of a scam – most booking sites ban external exchanges, instead encouraging all communication and interactions to take place through the site.
This is the same for payment, if the host is pushing you to pay using an alternative method to that of the booking site, this can be a sign of a scam as they are moving away from the secure, tracked method of the site.
2 – Email Links
Fraudsters may send fake Airbnb links via email requesting you to input your data in order to receive the best deals or secure a booking.
If you do receive an email like this, try to avoid clicking the link – instead, go straight to the official website and log in via the secure system.
If you do choose to follow the link, double-check the URL to ensure it’s leading to the official site.
3 – The deal is too good to be true
If the deal appears too good to be true, chances are that is the case. Try reverse image searching the images used in the listing, as well as searching for reviews and evidence that the property is legitimate – you can do this by right-clicking on the image and selecting the option “search for image with google lens.”
However, if you are unsure, it’s best to avoid the listing as it is better to pay a little bit more than to lose money and details to a scam.
4 – The host’s profile
The host’s profile can be a strong tell as to whether or not they are legitimate listings. Airbnb has begun verifying both hosts and guests on its site to ensure the properties are valid and reliable.
The number of listings on one profile can also signal whether or not they are genuine, it’s unlikely that an individual host will have a large number of properties for rent so be sure to look into the reviews, properties and details of the host before booking.
5 – Reviews
The most valuable asset when booking a rental property is the reviews. These can apply to both the property itself and the host.
If a property has no reviews, it can often be best to steer clear – however, it could be that this is a new listing, in which case, look at the reviews for the host and make an informed decision from there.