You’ll probably never run into a scammer on Airbnb. But, as is the case with any online marketplace, there are scams out there. The most common scams include fake hosts, fake guests, and host impersonators. We’ll show you how to protect yourself from these scams using tips and suggestions we’ve gathered over years of experience and conversations with thousands of other adventurous travelers like you.
- Host asks you to cancel on their behalf
- Fake Listing
- Host asks you to switch rooms
- Host asks you to pay outside Airbnb
- Host falsely claims damage by guest
Host asks you to cancel on their behalf
Airbnb determines who’s at fault when a booking is canceled and whether the guest or host deserves reimbursement based on who took the action—the host or guest. If your host asks you to cancel your booking, but you cancel on their behalf, you will become ineligible to receive a refund.
How To Avoid
If a host requests that you cancel your booking on their behalf (whether it’s upcoming or you already checked in), politely decline the request and tell them it’s ok if they need to cancel but won’t do it for them.
It’s also against Airbnb policies to let other guests you don’t know check into your space or share keys with anyone besides yourself and the host. If a host asks you to break this policy, say no. If a fellow guest asks you to break this policy, report it to the host and the Airbnb Trust & Safety team.
Unfortunately, fake or inaccurate listings are circulating on vacation rental sites. Watch out for issues like a meager price for its location or “spectacular” amenities that aren’t displayed in photos.
How To Avoid
We want you to have a great vacation. Here’s how to avoid fake listings and book a worry-free stay:
- Look for a high average rating, and ensure that the property has 20+ reviews (a good indication that it’s maintained its quality).
- Check the photos and ensure that every room is shown in the listing, including the bedroom, bathroom, entryway, and common areas.
- Read through the description to understand what’s included with your stay.
Host asks you to switch rooms
A host may ask you to switch rooms by telling you a “problem” with the original room. Sometimes hosts will show guests multiple listings at once and then ask them to choose one. Don’t be fooled—a host cannot add you to a different listing after your reservation is confirmed. If the host tries to change what was agreed upon, open a reservation issue with Airbnb.
How To Avoid
If a host asks you to switch rooms during your stay, feel free to decline their request. You have the right to refuse their reasons and not switch. If you feel uncomfortable with any request from your host, you can also cancel your reservation without penalty.
Host asks you to pay outside Airbnb
Airbnb doesn’t allow users to pay or accept payments outside its platform and isn’t responsible for any transaction made outside. A host asking a guest to pay them directly, for any reason, is against Airbnb’s payment terms.
How To Avoid
The best way to interact with hosts is through reservation or message threads.
Host falsely claims damage by guest
Some hosts and guests have been known to scam each other, but it’s certainly not the majority. 99% of Airbnb guests do not make a damage claim on their stay! Airbnb has a robust system in place to detect potential misrepresentation. For a host to file for property damage, they must provide documentation to substantiate their claim.
How to Avoid
Airbnb does have safeguards in place to protect our community from malicious activity.
One way to lower your chance of a host falsely reporting damage is to take photos of your rental when you arrive and check out. If your phone doesn’t automatically save the dates and locations of certain photos, consider messaging the images to your host at checkout, so there’s dated proof for both you and the host.