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.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Airbnb doesn’t ask for information like that from you at any point via email, call, or text – only through the site when you’re booking and paying. If that’s requested of you after booking through the site, it’s a SCAM and it’s suggested you report it to Airbnb right away.

  2. I asked for a manager right away. I just got my service fee refund back today of $188, because I stated that I canceled within 3 months in advanced. I also stated that VRBO gives a full refund with a month in advance cancellation. Ask for a manager! Ask them if they know about the Airbnb HELL website. I hope they will do the right thing for you too! Thank goodness for this site that helped me be strong! Sending great gratitude to my Dad, who always tells me to stand up for myself when I know I have been treated unfairly.

    • Thanks Barbie – our parents must have been separated at birth. Both of mine told us growing up: “Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to do something for you – stand UP for yourself and be your own best advocate”

      As for the manager – you got lucky. Most of the reps I have spoken with have the same ‘canned-stock’ response – “The managers are all busy” and the way things are run – that is probably the MOST truthful statement I have heard from any Airbnb rep.

      Airbnbhell is awesome – never before had I ever envisioned going to HELL would be so insightful and welcoming- I think I love it here in HELL….. 🙂

      Take care friend~

  3. Very nice reply Jay and I agree with you 1000%.

    All through 2016 I had the most wonderful Guests come from Airbnb and I am (was) one of those legitimate and reliable Airbnb Hosts. Airbnb was easy to work with, my Guests easier and we sailed right into 2017 problem free. I was a HUGE advocate of Airbnb.

    But 2017 came in like a lion. 3 back to back problems – and this was only in January~

    Group 1: broke the coping on my pool from diving/jumping off the sides and then tried to blame me – $400 repair bill – I gave up asking Airbnb to reimburse me for my rightful monies because I was neck deep in fighting for a reimbursement from the next group – #2

    Group 2: trashed the home and departed at 3:39 in the morning (to the tune of over $2500) – still working with Airbnb on resolution for damages to furniture, etc.

    Group 3: decided they could do a ‘better’ job than the licensed pool co and started adding chemicals to the pool turning the waters ‘fluorescent’ green and then hid the chemicals they purchased from the local WalMart (which we found) and claimed they had NO idea how they got there. The pool co was ‘moments’ away from draining the pool and starting over – that is how BAD it was.

    With all that being said – my home is still being rented – and currently I have fantastic guests lying poolside enjoying the amenities. But I have had to cut ties with Airbnb.
    Do I blame THEM for the Guest behavior – of course not. What I BLAME them for is their own behavior, their bad policies and their bad judgement.

    Guests #2 had their entire review removed from the site once I mentioned that I had to contact the Resolution Ctr for help collecting the damage deposit. This ‘violates’ the policies of Airbnb – which state that ‘no mention of contacting the Res Ctr are allowed in reviews in any form or manner.’ Now these guests are out there – free to cause this carnage to another’s home all because on paper – they look like angels.
    This action is a HUGE problem for me as I was NOT allowed to have the review stand, while agreeing to remove the ‘violating sentence’. I was told I would NOT be given that option – I violated the rules and this was my punishment. 40 days in and I am still in conflict resolution with Airbnb over the damages and the monies that I SHOULD be paid to be made ‘whole’ again. WILL Airbnb finally STEP UP and do the right thing – only time will tell.

    Guests #1 I wrote a decent review on (in SPITE of them breaking my pool, which I did not even mention) was that wrong of me – maybe – but, I don’t believe they did it on purpose, however the right thing to do would have been stepping up and accepting responsibility for it themselves. I should have been reimbursed and that would have only happened thru the Res Ctr and as I said earlier on – Airbnb showed me in no uncertain terms how difficult they were about to make this ‘claim process’ – Thankfully this group did leave the home in decent shape.

    Guests #3 I didn’t even bother with a review. They have cost me a small fortune with the pool company trying to get our water quality stable. There is no sense trying to reason with them or Airbnb as to damages as they already showed their integrity by hiding the chemical bags from us and claiming they ‘knew nothing’. I have suspended my account to no new bookings with Airbnb and other than 1 more family due to come in the next few weeks I will be done completely with the company except for the fight for my damages of Guest 2

    And the saddest part about all this- is your statement:
    “The bad players will be weeded out eventually”
    Yes, that may indeed happen – but it’s a shame that in the ‘culling’ process a lot of the ‘good hosts’ have had to die off with them.

  4. Hi – I can tell you after several successful transactions as both a guest and a host, that legitimate and reliable AirBnB properties exist. Most definitely you learn over time what to look for in listings, and what to watch for in communications. Always read the reviews, and TRUST YOUR GUT.

    Not all of the listings are going to be 100% problem-free, but if you keep common sense alive and well during your hunt for accommodations, you will likely find something worthwhile and have a great experience. Write accurate reviews, but make sure they are relative to the location and listing you are booking. The bad players will be weeded out eventually.

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