Airbnb fraud cost me 1460 Euros! They aren’t doing enough to protect their community from fraudsters. I have had many happy trips with airbnb, but after this I will never use them again. They simply aren’t doing enough to protect their customers. I went to book accommodation in Amsterdam for new year, when I saw a message in the description of the listing offering 20% discount through ‘instant book’ (on the actual airbnb.co.uk site), I just had to email the host and they would enable instant booking to make the payment. ‘Fair enough’ I thought, they want to get people in quickly. Makes sense. So I emailed the host with the dates and a request to instant book. I then received an email from Herman (the host) with a link to instant book. The URL is still active https://www.airbnb.com.book.srl/instant/rooms/5913502?checkin=12292015&checkout=01022016¤cy=&guests=8 You’ll notice the URL is airbnb.com.book.srl, which at the time i believed to be Airbnb, which it evidently is not. (these links are no longer active after I brought it to airbnbs attention!) So screenshots are attached. Once you click instant book and enter payment details the following page appears with a slightly confusing error message (images attached). https://www.airbnb.com.book.srl/instant/rooms/status?accepted=false&hosting_id=9652369 After a bit of back and forth with Herman (perfect English I might add) I requested the invoice to be sent. I then received the attached email (too long to put here) and stupidly made payment through transfer. I then received emails from a very a very convincing airbnb finance team representative (firstname.lastname@example.org). Emails written as though from one of Airbnb’s real employees, here’s the linked in profile… but i don’t think this poor guy has anything to do with it. At this moment, I started to realize I’d made a mistake! I called my bank who said you can’t stop a payment like this, also notified Barclays (where the money was being transferred to), seemingly to no avail. During this entire process Herman was continuing to email and reassure me that everything was OK and the payment hadn’t come through yet. I also contacted airbnb who said that they had removed his profile and very annoying then decided to tell me never to make a payment away from airbnb (which I didn’t think I had), until they specified bank transfer. I have now followed the link where the initial listing was and it’s still live, this is after airbnb said that Herman’s account has been blocked! It has the same reviews the same host, but different apartment pictures and is on the actual airbnb.co.uk site. So unfortunately it’s inevitable that this will happen again to someone else. https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1125879?checkin=29-12-2015&checkout=02-01-2016&guests=3&s=R92_NDn9 I really feel Airbnb could have done so much more to protect me during this absolute nightmare. Not only have they allowed the fraudulent account to continue, but make a bigger play on the fact that no payments should be done offline rather than display instant booking everywhere. They say “At Airbnb, we do everything we can to create a safe and trusted marketplace.” I don’t think this is true. I’m now completely skint 2 days before Christmas with a cancelled trip for the New Year. Thanks Airbnb, but NEVER EVER again.
I found a nice apartment in Oman on the olx.com.om website and I contacted the owner. He replied to me and said that he is currently in London cause his contract in Oman has finished in 2011, he has the keys from flat in Muscat with him and he will fly to Muscat as soon as he finds reliable tenants. I was interested in a long term rent, the apartment was very nice and I was ready to talk with him on skype to convince him how good and neat couple me and my husband are. I got a long letter from him, his passport copy and not even a single answer to any of my questions… it was like I got the answers from a robot. Then he sent me an email saying: “I had bad experiences with prospective tenants so that it happened for me to travel to Muscat for nothing which involved a complete waste of time and efforts. Having received proofs from tenants according with them being interested in renting (passport, job contracts showing their earnings, bank statements) proved to be ineffective for my certainty. Some tenants tend to put additional conditions even if they had not been discussed previously or worse, they sometimes still try to negotiate after traveling back to London. Some of them also asked me to wait until the end of the month for them to get paid. I hope my explanation is enough for you to understand my point of view and why I chose Airbnb. My apartment is listed on airbnb.com and I have more good reviews. Let me know if you know about airbnb and I if you are ready to rent the apartment for the first month. That is my certainty guarantee and the only way I can come to Muscat.” I said I don’t mind to rent his apartment through airbnb for the first month and asked him to give me the link. He said he will send it to me shortly and I only got it the next day.
This is the address that I saw in my browser after I clicked on the link he sent me: http://airbnb-rent-booking-apartment-verified.ashanti.ro/rooms/2367933?View Which looked exactly like airbnb and had the payment system in it. Of course it was clear for me that this website is fake airbnb and someone was just trying to get a 1500$ transfer from me. So be very careful and make sure you deal with real airbnb 😉