Before you plan that summer trip, there is a new scam we want you to protect your wallet from while still having fun on the road.
Airbnb has become a popular lodging alternative to hotels for travelers since its 2008 launch. A decade later, the company is worth over $2.6 billion and now has become a favorite target of scammers.
Consumers have had their accounts hacked and are being bombarded with phony reservations placed in their names for trips they do not intend to make. These are then paid for using with their credit and debit cards. Oftentimes, these Airbnb homes, condos and resorts locations do not even exist.
A North Alabama woman was the victim of such a scam and recently alerted her local Better Business Bureau (BBB) when a credit union made her aware of suspicious charges to her account: one charge for $911 and another for $532 the following week. Once they were confirmed as fraudulent, the customer’s card was cancelled and the amounts were refunded.
Don’t be next! Airbnb wants you to be safe using their service and offers these tips to avoid being scammed:
1.) Never make payments outside of the Airbnb online payment application.
2.) Watch out for spoofed and lookalike URLs. A secure URL should always begin with “https://” (“airbnb-bookings.com” or “Airbnb1.com” are fake).
3.) Scrutinize emails that don’t come from recognized @airbnb.com email addresses.
4.) Report all issues or suspected scams by email to Airbnb at email@example.com.
Have you been a victim of an Airbnb scam? Tell us your story or contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!