Unauthorized Credit Charge Out of Nowhere from Airbnb

Never leave your credit card saved on the Airbnb app or website. My card was fraudulently charged for over $200 but promptly credited back, as shown on my statement. I did not even log in to the website or app for more than eight months. I lost out on more than $10 due to currency exchange differences. Airbnb refused to credit me back, and refused to say why my card was charged without authorization. It took them more than two weeks to even reply to me. My bank can’t do anything because Airbnb returned the amount they scammed from me. My big question is how can Airbnb charge a credit card without approval or authorization? This amounts to a scam and should be considered criminal. I thought my case was isolated, but a quick search on Google turned up similar stories.

Airbnb Colludes with Host to Fraudulently Charge Guest

A few months ago I rented a large property on Airbnb in Cape Town, South Africa. During our stay we accidentally caused minor scratch damage to one of the interior walls whilst moving our belongings up a stairwell. I notified the host via email of the damage to his wall (including attaching a photo of the wall) and offered to immediately arrange for repair work to be done (i.e. a refill/replaster of the scratch and repaint of the affected wall in the existing wall colour).

After no response from the host, I decided to go ahead and call a local contractor to do the repairs on our last day at the property and then sent a picture to the host of the repaired wall and asked him to confirm if he was satisfied. A couple of weeks later, the host sent me an email demanding to be paid R4000 (USD 300) for the cost of repair of the wall damage and the replacement cost for a couple of broken wine glasses. I naturally queried this, as the wall had already been repaired by a professional for half this cost claimed by the host, and at my own expense. I therefore asked the host to provide photos of any additional repairs he had allegedly done and invoices for those expenses.

He refused but instead sent a formal complaint and damages claim to Airbnb more than a month after my stay at his property (which according to Airbnb policy is not permitted beyond two weeks following a stay). I then sent several emails to the relevant Airbnb consultant, disputing this claim. Airbnb never responded to any of my emails. Several calls to their call center/”help centre” also proved fruitless. A month or so later, without warning, Airbnb summarily deducted USD 400 from my credit card account (claiming those funds would then be transferred to the host for damages.

The host has yet to provide a single shred of evidence that any such expenses were ever incurred and why his damages claim suddenly jumped by a further USD 100 from the initial USD 300 the host had first claimed to me directly. Should you ever find yourself in such an unresolved dispute , I recommend you cancel or block your credit card before Airbnb can make such fraudulent deductions on your card.

Dublin Landlord with the Tenant from Airbnb Hell

I own a house in a “regeneration” area of Dublin. Regeneration is a kind word; this street is clearly not suitable for unsuspecting elderly tourists. Think Little Red Riding Hood surrounded by wolves. I arrived last week from overseas to show the house to an estate agent to let it out. I was greeted on the doorstep by an elderly retired nurse from Canada who had booked it for four nights and paid about 400 euros. I’m not sure who was more surprised, this lady or me. I took pics of her reservation. It appeared the previous “tenant”, who I finally got to leave the month prior, had been using the house for Airbnb. Heaven knows how many bookings she took and how many other unfortunate tourists will have the same experience. The elderly lady took fright – actually she was in shock. I sat her down in the house – which was quite clearly unoccupied. I offered to get bedding so she could stay, but she was very anxious and no longer felt safe in Dublin. Eventually I dropped her back at the train station to return to the West of Ireland.

I contacted Airbnb. I got a call centre. Then I got a nonsense email. At this stage I went to the police and showed them the details of the reservation. This was a very unpleasant experience, which might have had an even more unpleasant outcome had I not turned up that day. If Airbnb does not already do it, they need to have hosts confirm they have permission to use the property. In circumstances where a property owner like me calls, they need to transfer callers immediately to a fraud/security department. They need to confirm to house owners immediately their properties have been removed from the site. They also seriously need to improve their interactions. In all future lettings I will include a clause in the contract to state subletting on Airbnb will nullify the lease and result in immediate expulsion from the property. I would recommend guests confirm that the host actually has the right to sublet on Airbnb.

My Home is a Fake Listing. Does Airbnb Even Care?

Well I’m neither a host or a guest yet I am writing here. I have had eight different people, all Airbnb guests, knock at my home stating they have a booking. Obviously some con artist has listed my address on the Airbnb website and is taking the payments the guests are paying to stay at my address for himself. I have tried to contact Airbnb by phone several times only to listen to annoying music until I decide to hang up… the longest I’ve waited is two hours (thanks to unlimited calls by my service provider). The other way to contact Airbnb is by email but you have to register. I refuse to do this – why should I? Airbnb is obviously not taking fraud seriously because the guests that have arrived at my home for a fake booking have complained to Airbnb. Yet the listing must still be up as people still turn up.

Conned by Airbnb over Easter Weekend

I used Airbnb to book a villa for eight people… I thought I did anyway. Prior to that I had contacted several hosts and got exactly the same reply every time. I liked a villa whose host was named Sandy. Villa Vouglemeni looked great. I received a confirmation email and was then told the payment needed to be made via bank transfer as it had been confirmed but not yet booked. We turned up at the place after paying £2355. The villa was real, but the booking was a fraud. Eight people were forced to book hotels at a peak travel time (Easter). The real owner had spoken to Airbnb ten days ago saying the listing was a fraud but Airbnb did nothing to prevent further fraud from occurring. They left the link up, so we booked and got conned. Then we had to pay again for alternative accommodations. They ruined our holiday. We lost all our money and they refused to listen or help; they just kept sending the same form letter. Help me share this story and get my money back and everyone else’s.

Hacked After Concerns About Identity Theft

I used Airbnb once and was pretty satisfied with it. Shortly thereafter, Airbnb required that users upload two forms of government-issued ID. With seemingly every large online business being hacked every other month, I simply won’t do that. My credit card has fraud protection, but should Airbnb be hacked and my bloody passport stolen, I think I’m fairly screwed.

I decided to cancel the account. When you try to go to account settings, you’re blocked until you upload your ID. Airbnb, of course, lists no way to actually contact anyone at the company, so I put it off. Like a fool, I forgot about it. Now someone in Poland has accessed my account. I was able to reset my password, but when I finally dug around on the web to find a phone number for Airbnb, courtesy of Airbnb Hell, they said they can’t help me access my account until I give them the credit card number I used to pay for my one trip. I can’t access my account to see which one it was, and I don’t have it on me – because both of my credit card numbers had to be changed after retailers at which they were used were hacked. I left some negative feedback on the site briefly spelling this out. I did actually get an email from Airbnb letting me know that I could cancel my account by going to my account settings. Helpful…

Airbnb Property Pictures in Mallorca Used by Scammers

I am a property owner in Mallorca and it has come to my attention about two months ago that my photos have been duplicated and are being used by another host on a scam listing. I do not know this host and I have not given him permission to list my property anywhere. In the comment section, clients have also expressed their complaints that the host had contacted them only two weeks before arrival (long after he had already taken their money) that the advertised property would not be available and therefore he could offer them another property. The guests did not choose or agree to this, but they obviously had no choice because they already paid. Airbnb did not help the guests and they do not seem to care about the comments because this should be enough proof for them to be aware of the scam that is going on. I have written to Airbnb to request the listing be taken down immediately but after many messages with different people, I was told that it was not Airbnb’s responsibility to verify contracts between hosts and owners; therefore they could not take the listing down. This is really unbelievable and I am starting to get desperate. I hope someone who has been in the same situation is able to help me. The last thing that Airbnb has done is advise me to send proof of copyright of the photos to their copyright department, but these are my personal photos. I feel they are just trying to keep me occupied and in the meantime, the scam listing is still showing my property without my permission. To protect myself legally, I have reported the scam to the local police, but they cannot help me either. All this has been nerve wracking and very damaging to my property’s reputation. I really look forward to receiving your comments and advice on how to approach this issue once and for all.

Scammers Keep Adapting: Long-Term Apartment in Vienna

I was planning to find an apartment to rent in Vienna long term and used the website jobwohnen.at to look for a place. There I found a really good offer of a very nice apartment, with a really good price and an incredible location. I thought it was perfect and decided to write the person renting the apartment, Matilda Veracruz Barrera. The listing was in German and it seemed really nice. Since I speak Spanish and the name of the contact was clearly from a Spanish-speaking country, I suggested that we could communicate in Spanish. After a short time, I received this message:

“Hello, I just read your email regarding my apartment for rent located in Vienna, Austria. It has two rooms: one bedroom, one living room (51 square meters). I bought this apartment for my daughter during her studies in Austria, but now she’s back home permanently. I’m renting the place for an unlimited time. Before we go any further I would like to know a little something about you, like how many people you intend to live in the apartment, and for how long. The flat is exactly like in the pictures, furnished and renovated. The utilities (cold/hot water, electricity, wireless broadband Internet, digital TV , dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) are included in the price of the rent. You will have one parking spot, whose rent is 470 EUR month. The guarantee deposit is  1250 EUR, and you get it back when you decide to leave the apartment (you will have to give me at least 30 days’ notice). As for me, you can rest assured that I will never ask you to leave the apartment. My daughter is building her life here. I am too old to move to Austria, so we won’t disturb you. You can use my furniture, or you can also use your own if you prefer. If you decide to use yours, you will have access to a very large and well ventilated cellar, where you can store my furniture. Now, a little bit about myself so we can get to know each other better. My name is Matilda Veracruz Barrera and I’m 56 years old, Deputy Director of the chamber of commerce from Barcelona/Spain, planning to retire in the next two years. I have a lovely husband, Luis Veracruz Barrera, and a 25-year-old daughter, Luisa. I am very proud to say that soon I’m going to be a grandmother. Another member of our family is an 8-year-old Labrador which we all love, so I have no problem if you keep pets. The only inconvenience is that my job doesn’t allow me to leave Barcelona even for one single day. We just hired some new staff and I’m in charge of their training. This won’t affect you at all. I can make arrangements to rent the apartment from Barcelona (on my expense of course). Looking forward to hearing from you soon. All the best from Spain!”

This message to me seemed perfect but also strange, since I suggested that we could speak in Spanish but she responded in English. I thought that maybe this person had this already written in English and was just copying and pasting to anybody contacting her. Now I realize that the listing was in German and the sudden switch to English was weird as well, since I wrote her in German in the first place and just suggested Spanish as an option. I was very naïve and decided to write her back. I was super nice and super detailed with my moving date, and my purpose in Vienna, so that the person would trust me. After that message I received this:

“Gracias por su respuesta, Como te he informado antes, el precio de 1 mes de alquiler será de 470 euros con todas las facturas incluidas en él, y quiero también un depósito de garantía de 1250 euros (el depósito de garantía de € 1250 que recibirá de vuelta al final de la Contrato), sin impuestos adicionales a pagar. Quiero recibir el dinero mensualmente en mi cuenta bancaria, por lo que espero que no será ningún problema para que el cable del dinero. Estoy dispuesto a enviarle las llaves para que pueda visitarlo y ver que se adapte a sus necesidades. La entrega de las llaves y permiso de visualización (firmado por mí), se hará con Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) para asegurarse de que podamos confiar en el otro. Si estás interesado te puedo explicar el procedimiento, así que espero noticias de tu lado porque realmente necesito ocuparme de este asunto. ¡Gracias!”

This message seemed ok. I thought that it was the real deal since it was written in Spanish. The thing is that I gave so many details and this seemed to be a very cold message. Also the Spanish wording is a little bit weird and with some clear mistakes. I thought: mistakes from a Deputy Director of the chamber of commerce? If you put that message into Google Translate you get this:

“Thanks for your reply. As I have informed you, the price of one month’s rent will be 470 euros with all bills included, and I also want a security deposit of 1250 euros (you will receive the security deposit of €1250 back at the end of the contract), without additional taxes to be paid. I want to receive the money monthly into my bank account, so I hope it will not be any problem for you to do a wire transfer. I am willing to send you the keys so that you can visit and see that it suits your needs. The delivery of the keys and permission of visualization (signed by me), will be done with Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) to make sure we can trust each other. If you are interested I can explain the procedure, so I expect news from your side because I really need to deal with this. Thank you!”

Of course they used Google Translate. The whole situation still seemed so fishy but I decided to continue to read her responses. I wrote her a short message saying that I was interested and that I would like to know how the process with Airbnb works. I also told her that I needed the apartment for July and not immediately. I received then this back:

“Hello, the contract is made in your name, and yes, everything is included. First of all, I want to tell you that if you are ready to proceed with this transaction I will need to inform you the steps about how this service works. You will have two days to inspect the apartment before your final decision to rent. I will pay the shipping costs. This is how it works:

  1. I will deliver the papers to Airbnb.
  2. After I deliver the papers they will require your payment confirmation of the first month and the guarantee deposit (€470.00 + €1250.00=€1720) to the company. Airbnb will send you a delivery notification to let you know they have the keys and the papers in their custody. Also Airbnb will give you further instructions about the deposit.
  3. After the payment is confirmed the delivery process will start and when you receive the keys, you will have two days to inspect the property before your final decision to rent.
  4. If all is in order, you will instruct Airbnb to give me the money. Future rent will be sent directly to my bank account.
  5. If you refuse to rent the apartment, Airbnb will give you a full refund (€1720.00) and you will give them back the keys and the contract. If you are interested in renting the apartment please send me your information, so I can make the deal: name, address, city, postal code, country, phone number, a copy of your ID, passport or driving license by email (scan or photo) and a picture of you. Thanks!”

Again the conversation was switched back to English with no feedback on my elaborated details. It seemed so fishy at this point that I decided to Google this woman at the chamber of commerce of Barcelona, and I couldn’t find anything. Then I decided to look for Airbnb scams and found a very similar story posted on Airbnb Hell some days ago with a long-term apartment in Iceland. That’s why I’m sharing my story, because it is clearly a scam. I am not angry with Airbnb; they haven’t done anything to me. I cannot say that Airbnb is a good or a bad platform, since I’ve never used it before, but there’s definitely a bunch of idiots outside of Airbnb trying to use it to scam people. This post is just to show people out there to be careful with these kind of offers. Don’t fall into this trap. Fortunately I was careful enough in the end, but some people might fall for this and the amount of money they are asking for is quite a lot. I hope this helps others in similar situations and they will report it here or somewhere else. Please let me know where else can I share my story so people won’t be fooled in the future.

Airbnb Just Doesn’t Care People Are Being Scammed

I too have fallen victim to the scam that Airbnb seem to allow to run through their website. I clicked on several advertisements for beautiful apartments in New York that are showing up on their website. I noticed some of the hosts had issues with their calendars not updating and were requesting potential guests email them directly. I thought this was odd, so I Googled “Airbnb email requests” and found an article that talked about how hosts like to vet their guests before allowing them to stay in their apartments and that this was normal for Airbnb. When the host replied to my email stating that the apartment that I was interested in was now booked long term I thought nothing of it. She said she would email me details of another apartment if I would be interested. I was, and asked her to send through the details with a link to the site so I could book. When she sent the details over she didn’t send the link and asked instead for further information on why I wanted to stay in her apartment and wanted a little more information about me. I told her all about my group and why we were wanting to stay in New York, our dream holiday to celebrate an 18th, 21st, 40th and 60th birthday. She responded with the link and said we could book her place.

I was really pleased as I was worried she wouldn’t rent it to us (following what I had read in the online article). I was even more pleased when it was an Airbnb link, as I was worried about it being an unknown site. I clicked the link and got taken to an Airbnb site showing the apartment and a “click to book” button. I clicked the button and was taken to another Airbnb page, this time showing bank details and asking me to send payment via bank transfer. This didn’t appear odd as this is how I had paid for another apartment on a different website and I thought this was safe. Anyway, I emailed the host back and told her payment had been made and she was happy and asked me to ensure I kept in touch and provide a mobile number closer to the time so she could arrange to meet me. I received email confirmation and invoice from Airbnb telling me I was all booked. The next day the money was sent from my account.

The day after Airbnb got in touch to say they believed I could have been involved in an email scam. I phoned them quickly and asked about my booking. They had no record of that nor the person with whom I had been dealing. I started to get upset on the phone and the customer service person told me not to worry; I would be in safe hands and that they would get my money back. She told me she had to pass my case on to someone but to not worry as they would solve this for me. I waited and no one returned my call. I called back later, was told it was being investigated, and again told not to worry, that I would get my money back. I received an email later that night to say that Airbnb accepted no liability as this transaction was done outside their platform which they advise against. They told me this was the end of the conversation and they would not reply to any more of my emails. I tried again and they said they would look into it further. Still there has been nothing; no replies or anything.

You know the worst part? The page is still active, along with several more that I now know to be fake even after I emailed Airbnb with the page link and told them it was still online. I’m not a stupid person; the pages that appeared from the link seemed genuine. I now know that they were just part of an extremely clever scam, one that has cost me and my family our dream holiday. I feel ashamed that I have allowed this to happen to me and my family. I am hoping to seek legal advice but to be honest I am not hopeful. Airbnb needs to take responsibility for what is happening to their potential customers. There are no warning signs on their site so new customers are informed that they only accept a certain form of payment. There are so many reasons why I believe Airbnb to be in the wrong, but no one at Airbnb will even listen. I expect because they are inundated with these complaints, that in itself tells you something.

Airbnb Won’t Take Responsibility For Fraud

I was unfortunately the victim of fraud from an Airbnb listing. Yes – I know, I’m stupid – I should have known better. I was new to Airbnb and had no idea that what I was proceeding with was not standard protocol. Ultimately I found a listing on Airbnb with a description that requested I email the provider to make the booking. He then used a very elaborate scheme to make me believe I had returned to Airbnb to submit payment for the listing. Now my money is gone and Airbnb is insisting that because I went outside of the platform I was 100% liable for what had happened. What really crushes me the most is that Airbnb allowed this user to make a listing with a description that gave detailed directions to email them outside of the platform. Airbnb did not properly vet this account and did not ensure that they were posting accurate information. I naively found this listing on Airbnb’s trusted site and thought that because it was posted in the description, it would be ok. After that I was quite foolish and fell for the rest of his scheme. I lost a good amount of money and it is devastating to my family but I’m sure big corporate Airbnb doesn’t care at all what they’ve accomplished; after all, this is pennies to them. The investigative “trust and safety” department issued a resolution with bias and untrue grounds that just so happened to benefit the company. Now they are refusing to speak with me any further and insist that there is no way to communicate with the investigative team. I’m just so thrilled to hear that their own investigation went so well for them without any of my cooperation. My point is that Airbnb did not properly vet this posting and fully allowed the listing to get published with detailed directions that resulted in me being the victim of fraud. They are partly responsible for this incident and refuse to accept that in any capacity. I don’t know what else to do to get their attention but they have been completely uncooperative with me.