5 common scams threatening Airbnb users
Airbnb warns of five common scams, which are not unique to its platform. 1. Advance-fee scam: Someone offers to pay you or give you something if you pay through a service outside of Airbnb.
2. Phishing scam: Someone sends an email or link that appears to be from Airbnb or another trusted site. Such messages try to deceive you into providing confidential information such as passwords.
Phishing messages may contain malicious software to gain access to your computer to gather your personal information, including passwords, the company says. 3.
Travel scam: Someone offers you a great deal on a listing if you pay or send a deposit with a wire transfer. After receiving your money, the other party doesn't provide the reservation advertised. 4.
Overpayment scam: Someone offers to pay a property owner (or manager) more than the price of a reservation, and then asks for cash to cover the difference. 5. Third-party booking scam: Someone offers to reserve and pay for an Airbnb listing through a third-party website or service, often claiming to have an Airbnb coupon or discount.
Typically, these reservations are paid for with stolen credit cards. Airbnb offers cybersecurity tips that are important regardless of the company with which you're doing business.
- Check a website's address. If Airbnb, for example, is misspelled, the site is fake. Here's more on how to determine if an email or website for Airbnb is legitimate.
- Check for a lock icon in the browser. You can tell if a website is secure by looking in your browser's address bar for the little padlock; all Airbnb websites have the icon. If it doesn't appear in the address bar, your connection to the website isn't secure -- and you should not enter personal information.
- Be wary of threatening tones. Fraudulent emails and websites often have an urgent tone and threaten account suspension, the loss of a reservation or a delayed payout if you don't click a link or provide certain information immediately.
If you have any doubt about an email's authenticity, log in to your Airbnb account and go from there, the company says. Moreover, report fake websites to Airbnb and if you interacted with a fraudulent site or are otherwise concerned about your account's security, contact it here.
At BrandShield, Keren says travelers have become conditioned to shop online for special deals and last-minute bargains, but he prefers dealing with hotels and airlines on websites he trusts are truly theirs.
Though he might miss out on a discount, the peace of mind he's bought is worth it.