Most Airbnb guests aren’t out to cause any harm. They're usually honest people who genuinely want a nice spot for a short break or a long-term vacation. But some potential guests are possibly out to cause problems for the host. These 8 warning signs could mean a guest or potential guest is up to no good.
1. False Identity
A fake name is the biggest warning sign that a profile is fraudulent. Perhaps the name is supposed to make someone laugh. For example, maybe it’s “Harry Pitts” or “George Washington”. Usually, people who joke around with the name aren’t serious about finding an Airbnb. But you should view the profile just in case it’s not fake. It’s possible that someone really does have a joke name, but it’s highly unlikely. If their information has been officially verified, then check to see if the name is real. It should match the name on the identification they used for verification.
2. Suspicious Email Account
After the name, check the email address. Joke email addresses or addresses that don’t match the profile name are a warning sign. When people are interested in an Airbnb, they are usually serious about the information they provide. If the profile name is completely different from the name associated with the email, that’s potentially a problem. But it’s also possible that the person is using someone else’s email with permission. Or maybe they’re legit, but use different emails for different purposes. Solve this problem by asking the person to verify their email before going any further.
3. Information Overload
It’s great to have information about a potential Airbnb guest. But too much information is a warning sign. For instance, the guest might talk about how a recent death in the family caused them a great deal of grief. Or that they haven’t been able to find any other host, and this is their last shot. It’s true that perhaps the stories are true. But if the person is clearly trying to cause guilt or shame, then they won’t make a good guest.
4. Refuses to Make a Secure Payment
Anyone refusing to use a secure payment method is definitely suspicious. Hosts have the right to decide which methods of payment they wish to accept. Debit card, credit card, and PayPal are the most popular methods of payment. They are popular because they are more reliable than other forms of payment. Most hosts also will not accept wire transfers or cash.
5. Bad Grammar
Pay attention to grammar in emails and profiles. Short broken sentences that don’t make sense are a warning sign. Messages that are full of typos, misspellings, and improper word usage could indicate a scammer. Think of the infamous “Nigerian Prince” phishing scam emails. Read one of those and you’ll see what a scam sounds like.
6. Rush Bookings
Most guests make plans weeks in advance. A last minute booking doesn’t necessarily mean anything nefarious is afoot. But the guest should mention why they’re contacting the Airbnb at the last minute. It’s possible that the guest does have a good reason. Listen to their explanation and use good judgment. If something feels wrong, then it probably is wrong.
7. Clueless about the Property
A potential guest should at least have basic information about the property. Who wants to stay at a property they know nothing about? Perhaps they’ll mention that you have 8 bedrooms when it’s actually 4. Or perhaps they’ll give the wrong address or wrong type of property. If the potential guest hasn’t bothered to learn anything about the property, they’re probably not serious about it.
8. Wanting to Exchange Services Instead of Pay
Some places do allow travelers to pay with services instead of money. For instance, a restaurant might let a person wash dishes in exchange for a meal. It might not happen often, but it does happen. But the same isn’t true for the Airbnb industry. Beware of the offer if someone wants to clean the property or make repairs in exchange for a room. There’s no guarantee they’ll hold up their end of the deal. If repair or cleaning is needed, just hire a professional repairperson or cleaning company.
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