The Most Common Airbnb Scams: A Roundup

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After Allie Conti‘s investigation on an elaborate Airbnb scam ring ran in Vice in October, 2019, Airbnb vowed to fix the loopholes in the system that allow fraudsters to profit off of unsuspecting renters, however it’s clear that things aren’t moving fast enough.

In response to Conti’s story (we highlighted it here), over 1,000 people emailed Vice to share how they’d been scammed by smarmy Airbnb predators. In Anna Merlan‘s report, she reveals that the Airbnb scams fall into several categories. Educate yourselves, weary travellers.

Hoping to get a better sense of the issue, we asked readers to tell us about their own experiences using Airbnb. In response, we got nearly 1,000 emails, many of them outlining similar tales of deception.

The stories quickly started to fall into easily discernible categories. Scammers all over the world, it seems, have figured how best to game the Airbnb platform: by engaging in bait and switches; charging guests for fake damages; persuading people to pay outside the Airbnb app; and, when all else fails, engaging in clumsy or threatening demands for five-star reviews to hide the evidence of what they’ve done. (Or, in some cases, a combination of several of these scams.)

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