Airbnb is currently the world's premier vacation rental platform, but it's not trap-free. The company announces about seven million accommodations in 191 countries, surpassing the supply of the five major hotel networks on the planet together. Per night, there are two million people staying in entire rooms and places with service intermediation.
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Numbers can create a feeling of confidence, but I need to keep the alert on while not trapping. Here's what are the most common scams on Airbnb and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
See tips for protecting yourself from fraud on Airbnb Photo: Karen Malek / dnetc
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Most recurring scams on Airbnb often involve requesting an out payment. By paying for bank transfer accommodation, for example, the scammer can gain access immediately without actually having to rent anything. In addition, some malicious person does not even have to finalize the property rental process on the site, which prevents the victim from even making a bad assessment.
In other cases, more sophisticated scams may have the transaction done by Airbnb and involve some kind of scheme to wind the guest in time to receive the transfer from the platform. One situation reported at The New York Times in October seems to have been in this fashion: the guest informed moments before check-in that something is wrong with the accommodation and offered him a tentative location. All to prevent Airbnb from blocking payment to the host.
Sometimes the host may not even exist. The case reported by the US newspaper eventually uncovered a network of scammers with several fake ads using disposable phone numbers, stolen photos from the Internet, and even fake reviews with several active ads, the network generated good reviews for its own accommodations to look real.
1. Check Property Appraisals
Property reviews should always be the starting point for reviewing an accommodation on Airbnb. Please read previous guests' reviews carefully for not only the veracity of the advertisement photos, but also to discover possible inappropriate behavior of the host.
To avoid false reviews, check the profile of users who have given five stars and try to find out if they also advertise accommodations. Be wary if a person says they have stayed in the same town where they have a place to rent.
Explore reviews made by other guests Photo: Reproduction / Paulo Alves
2. Seek other host ratings
Don't stick to ad ratings. Click on the host photo to access his profile and check if there are reviews made by people who have stayed at other properties advertised by him. The measure helps to know if the person has had problems in the past and has decided to announce the same place again to avoid showing bad ratings.
Likewise, by searching for more reviews of the host it is possible to know if it is reliable even if the accommodation was recently announced one person may have several places to rent on the platform. In general, hosts with the Super Host seal are more reliable.
3. Be wary of too low prices
New houses with exquisite decoration and unmissable location in very touristic cities usually have a high price. So be wary if a place with these features is too cheap. Scammers take advantage of the high demand in very busy cities to attract those looking for value for money, so it is important to do a lot of research to find out the average price of the place for the chosen date: if the value is much lower than normal, it is important to redouble it. It's the host's analysis to make sure the ad is a legitimate place.
See if the host has comments on other properties Photo: Reproduction / Paulo Alves
4. If in doubt, search for property on Google
One way to make sure an actual Airbnb ad is by researching the authenticity of photos. Download the ad images and do a reverse Google search to see if they appear on other sites. If the same room, house, or apartment appears to be advertised elsewhere, it may be fraud.
5. Always communicate through Airbnb
It's important to keep all communications with the host always on Airbnb's own chat tool. With the conversation history available on the service, the company can more easily mediate a possible conflict with a host and proceed more quickly with a refund, if applicable. It is therefore important to avoid speaking by phone, WhatsApp or email.
Use chat to chat with the host before booking and ask questions about accommodation. Ask about the location of the apartment and the amenities offered to reduce the chances of disappointment upon arrival. On the check-in date, arrange the check-in time and find out if someone is waiting for you sometimes, the check-in is released by an employee or an access code. When you leave, make sure everything is in order and report key collection.
Use Airbnb chat to communicate with host Photo: Reproduo / Paulo Alves
6. Document and report any issues quickly
If there is a problem with the accommodation, record the problem in the company chat and photograph the location if necessary. If something is not in order, notify the owner immediately to make sure nothing is charged to you at the exit. Problems with cleanliness, for example, can be evidenced by photos captured on the first day and reported through the Airbnb communicator.
But if there were conversations on WhatsApp, don't dismiss them: make prints and send to Airbnb chat if you need to verify anything. Videos and paper documents, such as receipts and part-charged bills, also help to strengthen a claim. Even if everything seems to be going well, be properly supported in case you need to file a complaint about your stay being over.
7. Never make off-site payments
Never make transfer payments and other methods not brokered by Airbnb. This is especially true at the time of booking, but there may also be charges while a stay is in progress, either to extend a booking or pay the taxes and deposits required by the host. Additional charges, please note, should always be described in the notice so that the guest knows. from antemo. Regardless of the reason, always pay using Airbnb.
In the middle of a reservation, open the Travel menu from the app or website and select the Send Money option on the accommodation screen. The host will be valued normally and the client will be assured that Airbnb will be aware of the transaction and will be able to engage to mediate any dispute between the parties.
Via Airbnb and The New York Times
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