Fraudulent Listing has Government Questioning me

I have been notified by my county asking why I haven’t paid fees and taxes for renting my home. I have been living in my home for two years and have never rented it. I informed the county and they suggested getting Airbnb to take the listing down. They provided the link to the active listing.

This is not my listing. I have had two parties drive by my house and ask me if they could see my house. Then one party asked me if I’m the host. I have contacted Airbnb at least thirty times to have them take down the listing and they simply will not do it. I have spent at least forty hours on the phone with them. They have never called back. I have contacted filed complaints with the Attorney General of Colorado.

This listing has pictures of the inside and outside of my house. The location, on the ad, is easy to find by potential renters because the area has only a few homes within it. I feel like I’m being harassed. My next step is to get in touch with the County Attorney and law enforcement. I’m very exhausted.

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Fake Airbnb Superhost, No Refund Coming

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I’m sure most of the time Airbnb hosts are genuine and the property listings are real. But unfortunately for me – first time user – I booked what looked like a fantastic apartment in London through a host and paid a 50% deposit. The next morning, I received an email from Airbnb stating that my reservation was cancelled and my deposit would be refunded.

Airbnb took my money and there’s no refund as of yet. When I spoke to Airbnb, they admitted that the host was a fake but did not give a crap that I would be out of pocket $1,7436 until they processed my refund. Yes, I appreciate that they picked up that host was a fake within 12 hours but it’s a pity it’s going to take more than a week for the refund.

They’ve scared off this potential customer forever, and I will tell everyone not to trust Airbnb. They should have done their checks before letting a fake host post a listing. To top it off, the fake host is still active and is still marked as a SuperHost.

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When an Airbnb Host is not an Airbnb Host

About two weeks ago we were paid a visit by a gentleman knocking on our door asking for “Richard”. My wife answered and told him there was no “Richard at this address”. The man seemed confused. He was sure he had the correct address and rechecked his Airbnb app. His intentions were to stay at our home for three nights.

“Sorry, we don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He then showed us photos of our house. Surprise, surprise… we had all been scammed. Whoever had set up the fictitious Airbnb account had swiped photos of our home off of VRBO and populated them into the made-up account. Fortunately, the potential lodger had a daughter in town and was going to flop on her couch.

He did call “Richard” on the supplied phone number but the person on the other line hung up abruptly. We obviously encouraged him to call Airbnb to straighten things out. We also notified Airbnb. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears.

We thankfully got some of the information from the poor guy who was left stranded: his confirmation number, etc. We decided to research the information we saw online. The host’s photo had been swiped off a site for cochlear implants, and the cell number belonged to a guy in upstate Wisconsin.

We blocked our caller ID and spoke with him. He said he had been getting calls for the last couple of days and stopped answering the phone. I was sort of surprised that he picked up our call. My wife still thinks he may have been the perpetrator but he sounded somewhat surprised.

Meanwhile, the associates at Airbnb kept telling us someone would call us back… crickets, nada, zip. We called again the next day and the next day after that. No returned calls. All we ever heard was that they would mark our ticket as “URGENT” and call us back… yeah, right.

We also tried contacting Airbnb via their website. There was some back and forth which ended up as a short thread that was eventually moved to email. Once it got moved, the Airbnb contact names would change with every explanation.

A couple of days went by and lo and behold what do you think happened? That’s right, we got another visitor, a couple actually. They too had been bamboozled by this scam but did they get a call from Airbnb with a heads-up? Apparently not.

We continued our calls for the next several days. I also CC’d two Airbnb executives in my emails along with the various associates they assigned to us. Still, no courtesy call or explanation. They’re up for an IPO I hear. I wish them luck. With this type of non-customer service, I will not be indulging in any of their stock. I also canceled my Airbnb account. Has this happened to any other poor souls out there?

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Fake Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand

My daughter booked an Airbnb in Auckland, New Zealand via the Airbnb site. Her plane landed at night. When her ride took her to the address, the building was totally dark. No one answered the door. She could not reach the alleged host by phone.

While she was wondering what was up, someone drove into a neighboring property and told her that building was not an Airbnb and that he’d had to tell many people that. My daughter did find another place (albeit expensive) to stay for the next two nights. She did reach Airbnb.

The alleged hostess had somehow gotten a clue she’d been twigged and ‘canceled’ my daughter’s reservation several hours after she stated the check-in time, so all that was refunded. Airbnb gave her an additional voucher for a significant fraction of the reservation amount as damages, which she applied to a valid Airbnb for the rest of her stay, and made her feel a lot better.

I did a google search on that address. An New Zealand realty site listed it as zoned commercial. I located a doctor, a dentist, and a travel company, all having that address. The exterior is a house, but at least that block, if not several or the whole street, is commercial now, and it’s been remodeled into offices.

Our major beef with Airbnb at this point is: why on earth did they not do at least this simple Google search on that address when it was first listed? If they did, why did the stuff I found so easily not raise huge red flags for them? The listing now seems to have been taken off Airbnb, and it ended reasonably well, but a lot of midnight stress could have been avoided. It’s certainly colored our whole family’s perception of New Zealand. The reason she went through Airbnb is she knows so many people for whom it’s worked well.

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Airbnb Fraud Not Addressed by Company

We have recently been victim of an Airbnb fraud. While searching through the app for an accommodation for a weekend, we came across an Airbnb verified listing that led us to contact the host outside the platform. The listing was inviting us to contact the host via email due to issues in synching their Airbnb calendar and was openly providing an email address.

As described in the listing, we contacted the host and after some back and forth on details, the host generated an Airbnb-like booking confirmation email. Very professionally, the email was sent from an Airbnb-like email address and contained a link to customer service. Before carrying out the wire transfer, we unfortunately checked with what we believed was Airbnb’s customer service and got assurance about the legitimacy of the listing/booking.

I discovered this was a fraud a couple of weeks after carrying out the payment, as the booking did not appear in my Airbnb app. I then reported this to Airbnb complaining about the fact that they had hosts verified through their on-boarding process that led me to a scam and requesting some form of help or compensation.

Airbnb has been handling the issue in an extremely unfair way through their (outsourced) fraud department, fundamentally saying that they are not in any way responsible for anything that happened to me and that they can’t control what’s going on their platform. They closed my case a couple of times and no one, whether they’re in the fraud department or customer service, has been helpful in any way.

Not only that, but a few days after I reported my fraud case to Airbnb, I could find very similar fraudulent listings on the platform and I reported them – clearly they didn’t act upon them. My question is the following: is there any consumer protection for this issue? What do you suggest doing? The amount here is considerable (a few thousands euros). Any help would be very much appreciated.

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Six-Hour Drive to Airbnb Revealed Nothing

My daughter, who is heavily pregnant, and myself, aged 68, booked a break away with Airbnb, as escapism for a couple of days, having had car crash, family sickness, and my mother’s terminal illness to deal with, not to mention redundancy. We travelled six hours from Kent to North Wales, and upon reaching our destination and phoning the host discovered there was no booking for us, even though money been taken from us, and a confirmation code and receipt number received.

After some while awaiting a call back from the host to no avail, we contacted Airbnb, and were shown no consideration, only insultingly being advised of the terms and conditions, shedding any responsibility. Only upon insisting on speaking to a superior staff member were we offered any semblance of an apology, and a list of properties apparently vacant, but they were all booked.

To cut a long arduous story short, we returned home on our six-hour journey to Kent. This all took place on August 9th and there has still been no apology, and no compensation has been received. I posted a complaint letter to a London Airbnb address, and that got returned, stating “addressee gone away”. It’s so frustrating, so customer unfriendly and inconsiderate. Maddening.

Serious Lack of Security at Airbnb over Fake Listings

Sadly I viewed Airbnb listed in April 2018 and to my dismay and horror I found my holiday home listed not once by total strangers but twice. The first listing even had written reviews attached to it. I later found these people lived close to where my house was situated. Foolishly I believed I could rectify this by writing to Airbnb customer service.. What a mug I am. I have no doubt that “mug” is imprinted in large letters across my forehead.

Not only was my complaint ignored, the members of staff moved the listing of my home by these unknown people to the top of listings at half the price at which I had it advertised: 30 Euro a night for a fully fitted entirely modern home that can sleep up to seven people. I requested that these listings be removed and asked for a full explanation as to how such a lack of security could take place. I expressed how cross and angry I felt about the whole situation. It proved to be writing to a brick wall.

I viewed 27 other listings for the same very lovely ancient village and found that other English people whose homes 2-4 doors down the same street had their holiday homes listed. These homes are both much smaller than mine, sleeping four people at a price of £118 per night. They were fully booked via Airbnb for £118 per night for the whole season.

To this day, August 22nd, 2018, though I have emailed and even sent recorded letters to both the registered offices in both London and Dublin Eire the staff of Airbnb have not removed one of these listings even though I have provided the listing numbers. In fact the most recent email supplied by customer service suggested that the other listing was not going to be removed. I truly believe that such a lack security is illegal and that the directors who have entirely ignored my many complaints should be taken to task.

Airbnb Refuses to Remove Fraudulent Listing

I have been in dispute with Airbnb for a good seven months regarding a fraudulent listing not authorized by myself (the property owner) on their website. The listing had been created by an agent that had been working without my knowledge with a property manager I had employed to look after things as I live abroad. I have since discovered that the two had been allowing their own clients into my property for over a year, not disclosing this to me and therefore making money from my property.

I have confronted the two who admitted to doing so. I am currently in the process of removing my property manager from his post, however this has proven some what difficult as he is also living at the property. Needless to say it has been a hellish situation exacerbated more so by Airbnb’s refusal to remove the listing. During countless calls I have made I have been assured that the matter has been escalated to the right department and that someone is looking into it. The case has been closed and re-opened without my knowledge.

The last response I got was from an agent who questioned if the listing was indeed fraudulent the customers will not be able to gain access. I have explained that I am dealing with a dishonest staff member who is still living at my property and allowing entry to customers despite my insistence that this should be stopped. I feel powerless to do something regarding the listing, all the while trying to remove this former member of staff from my property has its own challenges, in a country of which does very little to support foreign investors and business owners.

Airbnb Property Fraud, Long Con Scam in London

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I would like to report that my husband and I were just victims of an elaborate property fraud here in London by a long con Airbnb scammer. We lost our entire apartment deposit and what we thought to be our lovely new London flat we had been working for months to save money for and were preparing to move into this Monday, April 30th. I really want to make other consumers and families looking for new apartments aware of the potential dangers and get our story published to raise consumer awareness. It’s shocking what happened; I’ve never heard of such a thing.

As far as I can gather from police and what has happened so far, the situation is as follows. We saw a property advertised on Gumtree in our zone in London when we were looking for a new flat to rent for this year. We contacted the advertised “landlord” via phone to chat and set up a time to view the property for rent. We went the next evening in person to see the apartment after work for a walk through viewing. All seemed normal: there was a man who met us, and showed other couples through after us. Nothing seemed off. We even went back a second time for a second viewing.

We spoke to the “landlord” a few more times. He created a tenancy agreement. I had him amend several clauses on the rental agreement before we all signed the final agreed tenancy agreement. We sent over the bank transfer deposit for the property. We received an emailed receipt. We were told he would contact us a few days before the move in date to hand over keys and do a final walk through.

All seemed fine and normal until this week when my husband was unable to reach the landlord all week. Getting concerned, we walked to the flat – it’s in our local zone – to knock on the front door. A couple answered and said they were staying there until today, Saturday, April 28th, renting it via Airbnb. They told us the name that they had been given for the “host” who rented it to them, which was a different name than what we had been given as the landlord’s name for the property, the person who had showed us physically inside of the flat, drawn up our tenancy agreement, and taken our deposit.

We went home and found the property advertised on Airbnb by the host’s name (name now changed in Airbnb, I noticed) the couple had given us. I logged into my current Airbnb account in order to chat with the “host.” At first I thought maybe everything was still okay, and that the landlord would still contact us as I saw the flat was marked as not for rent at all after Saturday except for three days in May (which was odd, because we were supposed to be moving in Monday, April 30th).

I was hoping it was an error on the part of whoever was temporarily renting it out on behalf of the landlord on Airbnb. The host’s bio on Airbnb said he was a professional property manager. I saw 22 other listings, so I thought maybe it was a company. Wanting to investigate further, I asked if the property was still for rent. The host said it was, and told me to go ahead and book the dates in May. I asked for his phone number; he refused unless I confirmed the booking. I then asked for address confirmation, and the “host” gave me another post code, which was for another address, so that all seemed immediately alarming and suspicious given we were supposed to move in this upcoming Monday.

We phoned our bank immediately, and sure enough, the bank details we had been given weren’t even for the same bank name. Our hearts sank. We reported the fraud to the bank and started preparing for the next preventative steps. I decided to return the next evening after work to the flat. We again knocked on the front door of the apartment. The current Airbnb guests said they had called their host who agreed to let us have his phone number.

We called the host and he said he was a manager from a property management company called Prime Estate Agents, and his company had been managing the property for years. He claimed that one of his tenants at the property had conducted the scam, and had also taken deposits from other couples as well. He said although he was willing to cooperate with the police, he would give me no further information. However, I was welcome to visit his realty office.

When I went to see him yesterday, he was extremely evasive, would not answer questions about why he gave me a different property address and name when I had chatted with him via Airbnb. All he said was that there were multiple other victims in the scam, and that my lease was not valid even though the landlord’s name listed on the lease agreement was the correct one. He claimed anyone could find out this information via land registry. He would give me no details about who it was that had the keys from the rental agency on that night/stayed there via Airbnb booking, just said it was one of their tenants, and that they would not give any more information unless it was to the police.

Airbnb has not helped me at all, the property company says its not their responsibility, our bank says we cannot get money back unless the criminal’s account still has money in it, and now we have no flat to move into. The police said they may or may not investigate, and we are left with no deposit or flat, and no one that will help us. This has been a heart wrenching experience, and I hope by sharing this that maybe others can avoid such potential scams. We have been living in London less than a year and worked saving money for this flat, and are left speechless after this. Also, I believe this professional property company is breaking council and tax laws by renting full houses out not properly zoned for extended periods of time.