Credit Card Verification – Security Check Process is a Failure

I’ve just read the post on April 18th on Airbnb Hell from the first time guest who had a nightmare with the verification process and needed to book a room. Specifically, he was asked to enter specific amounts from his credit card into boxes on his screen. When he was unable to do that (because it’s impossible to know what amounts to enter), he was asked to submit a credit card statement. Still, Airbnb requested more information until he gave up. I am going through the same experience. The difference is: I’m no first time user. I’ve been a host for two years with a dedicated townhouse that I use for short-term rentals on Airbnb all year round. I’ve been a guest for much longer. I have a single credit card that I’ve used for years, which I’ve used many times before to make Airbnb reservation. I used it to buy airline tickets within an hour before I tried to book accommodations through Airbnb on April 18th.

After submitting my credit card statement, which I did quite reluctantly, I received a message that Airbnb would get back to me within 24 hours about my reservation. They didn’t. I checked my credit card balance. I have a credit. In other words, there was no debt on the card, which has a large maximum. I’ve never defaulted it. I didn’t get a response yesterday so I called again. I asked the customer service representative to escalate it. She was nice and pleasant and said she would. I also replied to the email I received from the customer service representative I talked to the day before to let her know how badly Airbnb was managing the situation and that I wanted a resolution.

I just got off the phone with my third customer service representative in three days. She was able to get a supervisor on the line. He said he will try to resolve it for me and promised to call me back within two hours. He said that Airbnb has new security procedures in place that are being handled by a separate unit. He admitted that they aren’t working so well and other guests have been having the same problem. This security unit is somewhat isolated in that they will not deal directly with guests. I get the feeling that the customer service unit has little or no access to them as they held me hostage while determining if I am a risky guest. Meanwhile, I’m waiting. It’s certainly possible that the accommodations I tried to book (for 4/28-4/30) are no longer available and that other places may not be either as time is quickly passing and my trip approaches. Not only is this a problem for guests, but for hosts as well, as they are forced to wait and wait to see if a guest’s credit card is approved long after a booking request. The entire process is seriously deficient and needs to be modified by Airbnb. Needless to say, I’m quite disgusted and my confidence in Airbnb has plummeted.

Fraud from Stolen Credit Card Number on Airbnb

Last year, I booked a room on Airbnb. Everything went okay for the reservation and stay. Last week, I wanted to book a room again with Airbnb before and after a tour in Europe. I sent an email to the host to check the availability for August 2017 but to my big surprise, the room was automatically booked as Airbnb had kept my credit card information in their files. All I wanted was to check the availability, as the website was not posting a calendar like the last time. A refund from Airbnb was made for both transactions the same day as the host understood what I initially wanted to do.

A week later, I received a phone call on my voicemail at home from a well-known USA airline company (we live in Canada) to check if I had booked flights in Las Vegas to New York for $900 that morning. I spent more than two hours trying to reach the airline’s customer service (the booking number of the flight was left on my voicemail) and getting my credit card company to cancel the card. I was lucky that the airline cancelled the transaction for those who were trying to use my credit card and the scammers were not allowed to board the flight. I also found out from my credit card company that while having a good time in Las Vegas, the scammers had also tried to make a purchase for $3000 before booking the flights but the transaction did not go through because it was over the limit.

I will never use Again again. Please share this information on social media before other innocent victims fall prey to those leeches. My computer is protected with top of the line anti-virus software, so someone on the Airbnb side has connections to steal my credit card information.

Identity and Credit Card Information Stolen Through Airbnb

After renting an Airbnb in December, I received an email stating that my email address had been changed and to notify customer service if we did not make that change. We emailed them and didn’t receive a return call or message. We contacted them again after attempting to log on to our account (we could not access our own account to shut it down and still cannot to this day). There was no return call or email. About four days later, I received a random call telling me that if I needed additional towels, to please let them know. I then waited for over thirty minutes for a customer service representative over the phone. She confirmed that my account had been changed and that a rental in Brooklyn was active. $867 had been charged to the credit card linked to my account.

I felt great after speaking to her; she assured me that I would receive a call within four hours from the Trust and Safety Department to gather the details for the investigation. She also told me that she “placed a hold” on my account so that no additional charges could be made. Three weeks later after many phone calls, emails, wasted time on hold and additional charges on my credit card, and I have never received one single call or email from the Trust and Security Department. I continued to receive calls about my “stay” and even received a direct email from the Brooklyn host telling me that she gave me a five-star rating. Airbnb did not even notify the host that she had a renter that had stolen all of my information and was using my name and credit card. I received requests in the middle of the night for codes to be entered to change additional information on my account, which I’m assuming was the same person that originally stole my information. Airbnb was notified of all of these events and has never done anything to investigate or help us in this situation. It’s absolutely unbelievable that a company can function in this manner and stay afloat.

How Does Airbnb Use Your Information? Risk of Identity Theft?

Booking two nights away in Melbourne I searched through the listings and found what looked like a reputable host operating in a reputable building in a reputable part of Melbourne. I corresponded with the host and asked about the check-in procedures as I would be arriving after normal hours. They assured me it was very easy: all I had to do was book and pay and I’d be given access to an after-hours key box where I could collect the key. Sounds reasonable, right? I did what a reasonable person would do: booked and paid. Then nothing happened. When I followed up the host just a couple of days before we were due to travel I received an email from some nameless management company in Melbourne, “Apartments Melbourne Domain” requesting me to send a copy of my driver’s license as well as my credit card details, i.e. number, expiration date, and CCV number by email.

The host has subsequently ceased corresponding due to my requests for a refund as I refused to send this information via email and it’s in dispute with PayPal. Neither the host nor Airbnb UK (to whom the money goes) have responded to date, currently 48 hours since I disputed the payment. Hopefully I will get my money back. I’ve since booked with a reputable hotel that doesn’t require this sort of rubbish. If you comply with this kind of demand they would have your name, address, email address, driver’s license number, date of birth, your bank information, and your credit card number including the expiration date and CCV number. Identity fraud by these people is a very real possibility.

In this day and age, it’s not hard to set up a secure online portal for these things. The fact that they haven’t if they require this information to check in makes me wonder why they didn’t. Either they’re lazy and don’t care or it was malicious oversight on their part because it’s quite possible to actually set up a much better system. I’m sure my post will be bombarded by those of you have had great experiences, but think about how much you really know about the hosts to whom you are handing this information. If just one of them does the wrong thing once, what might that cost you? Please share, as I just finished reading a story on Huffington Post about one of their journalists being scammed out of thousands of dollars by a fake Airbnb user, so it happens. This platform needs to mature a lot before it’s user friendly and safe.

Airbnb Charged my Account without any Bookings

My PayPal account was charged over £669 on September 3rd, 2016 by Airbnb: £422 from my bank account and £247 from the backup credit card listed on my PayPal account. I was not a guest and I had not booked or tried to book anything via Airbnb, but they still charged me. Fortunately, I had set up the PayPal email warning system to tell me every time my account is used and my husband noticed the warning. I have never used Airbnb or had anything to do with them, having seen all the reports in the UK press about the horror stories. I did not lose anything, as the charges were eventually reversed. However, there have been no details from PayPal about how this could have happened. I have emailed them several times asking how it was possible Airbnb could apply charges to my account. So far, all I’ve heard is silence and a load of standard emails telling me they are always trying to improve their security systems. My opinion: they’re not good enough.