My Airbnb profile has been hacked and the company seems unable to help. The hacker cancelled an impending stay causing myself and the host great inconvenience. Unable to access my account, I was therefore unable to contact the host and had to do so through a circuitous route, via a friend’s account. Airbnb has been very difficult to contact by phone and when I have gotten through have been very non-specific in their responses. They prefer to use bland corporate speak talking about trusted communities and valued members which means very little if not accompanied by action. As it stands my account with four years’ worth of good reviews is gone. I am getting emails from Airbnb addressing me by a different name and asking me to review somewhere I haven’t stayed. Their cyber security clearly leaves a lot to be desired and their customer support seems nonexistent.
I can’t seem to find a story similar to mine in which the fraudster booked a house in China with my account, but seems to have uploaded their own method of payment – I hope – instead of using the two credit cards of mine that were stored on file. I woke up around 4:00 AM EST on Sunday morning, February 12th, 2017 and decided to check my email. I don’t usually check my email at this time so I’m not sure what prompted me to. However, I’m glad I did. What I saw when I logged in to my email account was about 95-100 spam emails, which were very unusual in the sense that they were not typical spam with a selling point or a strange message and attachment, but were all from different email addresses, sent to me with my very own email address in the subject header. In the subject was a short statement in a foreign language “发自网易邮箱大师”. I used a translation app and it said “From my Netease Mobile E-Mail Service”; basically it’s that provider’s version of “Sent from iPhone”, right? Strange.
Under all those emails were two emails from Airbnb in that same language (I’m guessing Chinese at this point). I don’t read Chinese, so I logged onto my Airbnb account and saw that a house had been booked in China for the amount of 9518 HKD plus a 40 HKD cleaning fee. This is over 1000 USD. I immediately canceled the reservation but noticed it was the type that allows you to pay immediately with no refund. I received a refund for the cleaning fee only. Then, I went to payment method and (stupidly, you will see why later) canceled all of the cards that were on file, not realizing at the time that the one that was used for the booking was not my card; as far as I know, I do not have a card in the ending in the same four digits. I was in a panic.
I then searched the website for a contact method, eventually reaching the contact form. I wrote a short message detailing what had occurred, explained that I deleted the credit cards by accident, and asked them to please look into it: the 100 spam emails, etc. I used Google and realized there were hundreds of fraud stories about Airbnb and through one blog went to the login page. There, I found that someone in China had logged into my account twice. The two logins had different IP addresses; I’m not sure if that matters. I called Airbnb around 12:00 PM Sunday, finding a customer service number through Google. It took about 18 minutes for someone to answer. The woman who answered was not very helpful, but very apologetic. She said she saw that I had submitted a message that morning, that the fraud team was working on it, and that I had to wait. I asked her if she had ever encountered an instance of a listing being booked with an entirely separate credit card. “No,” she giggled. “That’s new to me.” Fine.
Well, yesterday on February 15, I received a message from “Becky.” I have attached the email. As you can see, she makes no mention of the house being booked, of the fact that it actually went through, that it’s non-refundable, whose credit card it is, the spam emails, etc. Nothing. I wrote back:
Thank you for your email. However, this does nothing to address my question and concern about someone having booked a house in China with a credit card that is not mine. Is Airbnb looking into this?
This morning I received a reply:
I reviewed your account and noticed that you have cancelled the reservation. As you told us that the reservation was not made by you I have forwarded your case to the concern department for a refund. Please note that you will get the refund within a few working days. You also mention that the credit card in your account is not yours. Just to inform you that I have already removed the credit card from your account.
I already removed the credit card on my own. Is this a robot I am corresponding with? And yes, I cancelled the reservation. You noticed it, but I also wrote that in my original message. Is Airbnb’s customer service even alive? Now I’m not sure what my next step is. I’m 99.9% certain the card used in booking was not mine. I have exhaustively searched all my credit cards (I only have seven) and even ran a credit report just to make sure it wasn’t an old one I haven’t used in a while or that one was opened in my name fraudulently. Is there anything I can do? Am I just waiting my time going back and forth with Airbnb?
I started using Airbnb right out of the gate since I travel a lot. It’s been a lifesaver, but somehow about 18 months ago I started getting emails (in Chinese) requesting to book my apartment in China. Since I do not own an apartment in China I immediately contacted Airbnb for help. Crickets…for about 12 months. During this time I was not allowed to use my account. Because I was in the process of trying to get this resolved, my account got locked. I have emailed them dozens of times but to no avail. You’d think the smart person would just open a new account. I did, but because my identity is tied into my locked account I can’t get around the system. Of course, I can’t even find a phone number to call and resolve this issue. I just keep getting emails saying we think your account is compromised, please email us to resolve and then crickets… again. They have absolutely the worst customer service ever. Thankfully I have found this site and maybe I can call and resolve the problem but after reading all of the reviews, I expect more crickets.
Here’s my horror story; it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I had a person Instant Book my place with a stolen Airbnb account. The account holder was in Belgium and this guy was from Canada where my property is. I texted her to see how things were going only to find out she had no idea who I was and that she definitely had not booked my place. I called Airbnb and explained the situation to them. They put me on hold for 45 minutes at 3:00 AM in the winter in Montreal, so I called the police. They never came so I grabbed a baseball bat and entered my property. There was no one to hit with the baseball bat. No one was there, and most of my electronics were gone. That is not why I’m mad; it’s because of the way Airbnb handled the situation from there. I spoke to at least ten customer service representatives. They were all very nice, but my situation never got dealt with. After months of calling the only thing I could do was file a dispute with the person whose account got hacked, which they told me they would deny. They said they aren’t responsible for any stolen items, and that they would help resolve the situation if the guest had stolen anything. They would never pay my losses with their money. Obviously I can’t go after the guest who had her account stolen. Now it’s obvious that I can’t reason with Airbnb.
I received notification for a booking in San Diego for “my nephew and niece” (neither of which I have) and that I was charged £427. Luckily the credit card company has taken this seriously. We did not make a booking. The apartment owner has got the police involved and is endeavouring to sort something out on his end. Our rant is that there is no phone number for guests, only (I assume) for hosts to contact Airbnb. What a strange and rather ridiculous way to run a company. Anyone buying a service should have recourse to contact the company. Does anyone have an explanation as to why they don’t want to be contacted? I don’t think I have come across a company without a customer service line before. I am concerned that whoever did make this booking may be tampering with bookings I have actually made for later in the year. Any advice would be most welcome so that I can get some reassurance from Airbnb about how the company handles privacy settings and all our details.
All of a sudden there was a listing for a place in Amsterdam on my Airbnb account. I started getting emails about the space – 183 to be exact. I called Airbnb and waited about twelve minutes until someone came on the line. I explained that somehow someone else’s rental was showing on my account. The representative did not understand what I was saying and I had to explain it several times. Once they understood, they said they were writing a ticket and escalating it and I should get an email the next day. Two days later – no email. My account was suspended because I had unanswered emails; they are not mine. I called again, waiting another twelve minutes before someone came on the line, and had to explain the problem for a second time. The representative said that an email was sent to me by the case manager. I informed him that I did not receive an email. I asked him what email address it was sent to. He gave me some random email address that was not mine. The person I spoke to two days ago confirmed the email address. I asked to speak to the case manager. He said everyone was unavailable and sent them a message to call me immediately. Five hours later… no contact.
It looks like someone tried to access my Airbnb account last night. It was no big deal as it happens all the time. I decided to try and reset my password this morning and that’s when the issues started. Their system asked me to verify my email. Again, no big deal. I clicked on the link only to be presented with the same steps again. I continued, and received the same email to verify my email. Multiple times. At no point did I actually get access to my account. I tried to use a different PC (at work) and now my account is locked due to suspicious behavior. I sent an email to contact Airbnb. With no link, no phone number or anything telling me how to contact them. I went to the website and tried to find a way to contact them. It turns out you need to be logged in to be able to contact them, and obviously I can’t log in. So in short: my account is locked and there is no simple way to contact them or even delete my account. Customer service certainly does not seem to be their strong point.
I have a UK Airbnb guest account and someone hacked my account, changed my email address and changed the telephone number to my account. No verification is required for someone to do this. No confirmation email stating “click here to confirm changes,” or anything like that. They then used the card details stored to make a transaction of £372.00. They were obviously not required to enter my card’s security number either. I spoke to the customer service advisor who was nice enough, but asked me to put the information in an email to pass on to the security team. Considering this is quite serious fraudulent activity and I can no longer access my account (because my email and telephone have been changed) I would have expected a response by now to reassure me that my account is safe. There has been nothing. No email contact. I have no clue whether my account is safe and Airbnb makes it very difficult to contact them by phone. This is quite worrying. I have been waiting in a queue to speak to an advisor now for 17 minutes so far. Fortunately, my credit card company responded in a much quicker and more efficient manner and they have cancelled the transaction. I no longer consider Airbnb a secure website and wouldn’t recommend it to others.
I discovered a few months ago that my credit card had been charged more that 500 CHF from Airbnb. As I didn’t make any reservation at this time (I hadn’t used Airbnb’s services for months), it occurred to me that this was an unauthorized transaction. A few days after my account had been credited, Airbnb refunded the same credit card the same amount plus 6 CHF from fees that I had to pay to my bank for a transaction in another currency. Airbnb refuses to explain what this transaction was for (as I didn’t do it) and also refuses to reimburse the fees. I suspect there has been a security breach at Airbnb they don’t want to talk about. One employee replied to me:
“Additionally, we’re unable to release any information regarding the reservation or the user accounts involved without a formal request from a government agency or law enforcement, such as a subpoena. Should a government agency or law enforcement contact us regarding this issue, Airbnb will fully cooperate with such officials.”
It is not ok that customers have to pay for Airbnb’s security issues without any explanation.
I am new to vacation rentals. I signed up for Airbnb and VRBO in October but then had to suspend bookings as we were completing renovations; I needed time to get my affairs in order with them. When I signed up for VRBO I was instantly helped and hooked up. Ever since then my problems were resolved immediately when I called. When I tried to sign up for Airbnb I first realized that my personal travel account had been hacked. It took three weeks of horrible calls and emails to get it fixed. Once it was resolved, I built my host site and begin taking bookings. The response from travelers was very quick and efficient. After about four weeks of taking bookings I realized that I had over $3000 on my payout screen so I begin setting up a payout method. That’s when it really begin to hit the skids. When I first reported my issue, they said it would take a couple days and they would resolve it. That was three weeks ago. After eight phone calls and emails, two computers, four browsers, 50+ attempts to add a payment method, and three different payout methods attempted, there has been no resolution and they are now up to $5700 in payouts. I am proactively telling my guests that we might have to cancel because I feel like it will be at a liability to me if I proceed with their bookings. It really has been a horrible experience.