March 3, 2024

Avoiding Common Airbnb Scams: A Guide to Protecting Yourself

March 3, 2024
Company updates

Avoiding Common Airbnb Scams: A Guide to Protecting Yourself

Raul Tomescu
CEO & Founder


In 2019, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reported over $1 billion lost to online rental scams.  As a host using holiday rental platforms, you are also exposed to these. ☝️

In the following article you can learn about the most common Airbnb scams and can learn strategies to protect yourself against them.

Most Common Types of Scams

Below I have grouped together for you the most common types of scams. Read them to make sure you avoid them.

Off-Platform Payments

The guest does not want to pay through the Airbnb platform. Decline any requests for direct payments, insist on processing payments through Airbnb's secure platform.


You receive an email that appears to be an official message from a trusted website, but is in fact intended to trick you into providing confidential information, or may contain a virus (malware).

Verify the sender's email address by comparing it to official communication from Airbnb. Never click on links or download attachments from suspicious emails. Use two-factor authentication whenever it’s possible. ☝️

Identity Theft

When a guest uses a fictitious identity or the identity of another person. You can ask Airbnb to verify the account, and request guests to complete Airbnb's Verified ID process.


Guest books from abroad, pays by bank transfer outside Airbnb and pays more than they should. You may want to refund the difference, but international transfers have a longer withdrawal period, giving the guest time to cancel their original payment. You cannot claim a refund from Airbnb because the payment was made outside the platform.

Be wary of complicated stories related to overpayment. Refuse any overpayments and inform guests that all transactions must be exact and through Airbnb.

10 Red Flags that Can Help You Spot Scams

☝️ Communication. The guest communicates incorrectly, with major spelling mistakes, without meaning, with unclear questions, often repeating the same things.

☝️ E-mail. For Airbnb bookings, all communication should be done through the platform, but some guests may try to contact you via email. If the email is from a provider you've never heard of, or the guest's address doesn't match their booking address, or if they send a message that's too long with confusing explanations, be wary.

☝️ Too Much Information. Don't believe everything the guests tell you! If they share too much with you, and their stories are inconsistent or even contradictory, be suspicious.

☝️ Guest Identity. The guest is overly self-disclosing, giving intimate details about their life or being overly pompous about their profession. When this happens, he or she may be trying to assert a false identity. It’s worth checking the reviews left by other hosts about them.

Online fraud - illustration.

☝️ Trips Booked for Others. Check the identity and age of your guests when they tell you that they are booking a trip for someone else.

☝️ Payment Fraud. Never accept payments outside Airbnb, as they are not safe! Unsolicited payment information from a guest is also a red flag.

☝️ Missing Profile Information. The guest's profile is not detailed, or it’s missing a lot of information. In this case, check their identity documents. It is also suspicious if they have no questions or have not provided a phone number.

☝️ Incorrect Data. A guest sends a message that does not match the details of their accommodation.

☝️ Strange Dates. When guests want to book an earlier date or are too flexible about their stay. Check the reason for their trip.

☝️ First Instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. Listen to your first instincts!

Rental Software Solutions

Fortunately, there is now rental management software that offers many advantages against such scams.

Verification of Guest Identity & Activities

Such software integrates tools for verifying the identity of guests and retains their details for the period required by law. It also helps to manage centralised bookings, for example, showing multiple bookings with conflicting information.

Safer Payments

These software keep the history of previous guests, making it easy to identify the regular, trustworthy ones.

Secure Communication

Communication is handled through integrated channels and central messaging, keeping personal data confidential and facilitating the exchange of necessary information.

Furthermore, these software systems automate the sending of rental contracts to guests before they arrive, ensuring clear, legal terms between all parties involved.

Follow-Up in Case of Dispute

In the event of a dispute with a guest, these software solutions provide full documentation of all interactions and bookings.

The exterior of a holiday home.

Airbnb Fraud Prevention: Pros and Cons of Utilizing Rental Software

Below I have listed for you the pros and cons of using rental software.


✅ Enhances security by verifying guest identity.

✅ Facilitates safer payments and secure communication.

✅ Automates the sending of rental contracts, ensuring clarity and legal compliance.


❌ May involve additional costs for subscription or usage fees.

❌ Requires time to learn and integrate into existing processes.

❌ Potential over-reliance on technology might overlook the importance of personal judgment and interaction.


Airbnb Scams can be avoided if you pay attention to security and pay attention to the warning signs. It's important to be able to protect yourself and others, so using a rental agreement is essential.

Frequently Asked Questions

❓ What should I do if a guest wants to pay outside the Airbnb platform?

Decline any requests for direct payments and insist on using Airbnb's secure payment system to protect yourself from scams.

❓ How can I identify a phishing email pretending to be from Airbnb?

Check the sender's email address against official Airbnb communication. Never click on links or download attachments from suspicious emails, and use two-factor authentication for added security.

❓ What steps can I take if I suspect a guest is using a false identity?

Ask the guest to complete Airbnb's Verified ID process and review their profile for consistency and previous host reviews. If still in doubt, contact Airbnb for further verification.

❓ How should I handle an overpayment scam?

Refuse any overpayments and inform the guest that all transactions must be exact and through Airbnb only. Be cautious of complicated stories related to overpayment.

❓ What are some red flags that might indicate an Airbnb scam?

Poor communication with major spelling mistakes, email communication outside the Airbnb platform, sharing too much or inconsistent information, missing profile details, and messages that don't match the booking details are major red flags. Always trust your instincts if something seems too good to be true.

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