Advice on spam bookings, and what are the downsides?

We are UK based and have been renting out our camping pods on airbnb for a few years now without major problems, and this is the first time I have posted here.

However, we’ve had a couple of strange ‘bookings’ recently. In the last month I have had two fairly last minute bookings from what look like Chinese guests (their names are spelt in characters I don’t recognise). Each booking contained the same message (7pm is our latest check in time):

“Hello, I want to booking one night,if I don’t arrive at 7 in the evening,you don’t have to wait for me,and do not have to check out.thank you!”

I accepted but did not respond to either booking, as I could tell they were fake. The ‘guest’ then cancelled at very short notice, and because we have a strict cancellation policy we got most of the money. I can only assume that the intention is to try and tempt me to pass on bank details for them to pay a late check in/out fee (which we don’t do). Right now this just looks like an easy way to make money, and I am delighted to be taking money from scammers!

Has anyone else experienced this, and what are the downsides?!!



We use to get a lot of this when we had a B&B, they need the booking confirmation to apply for a visa.


Oh I see. Did you refuse the bookings because it would block up your calendar?

What I don’t understand is that the booking date on both occasions was for the following day, so that can’t be much use for their visa application. And also, they would be better booking with someone who doesn’t have such strict cancellation policy, so they don’t lose any money. Most mysterious!


I like your technique, probably would only work on ABB as my assumption is that the CC is also fraudulent and ABB do not seem to do chargebacks.

I doubt anything to do with a visa, could be one of many things but you will never know.

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@CampingPodKate - perhaps they are just trying to get your exact address and lock code? Then come back later to rob you?

I’m not trying to scare you; just guessing as to a possible risk

I think they are after my bank details. It’s a last minute booking, they’re going to arrive late and check out late - they think I’m going to want to charge a fee for my inconvenience. (I, of course, simply don’t reply.)

We don’t have a lock box, and our exact location is very easy to find as we advertise on FB, have our own website, as well as listed on many others, and are on google business. If I was frightened of people finding out where we are, I think I’d be in the wrong business :slightly_smiling_face:

It just seems like a bit of a rubbish scam to me, and I’m still wondering what the catch is.


Can’t see what the angle is here other than it seems likely something to do with credit cards.

As a guesstimate it’s maybe some low level bandit probing with a hooky card testing to see if they can get a refund diverted somewhere since it is last minute stuff, without them fully understanding the cancellation policies. It’s vague.

If they were after your bank details I think they would be fast on the draw to ask about a refund with a story and probably for chunkier amounts rather than one day payments.

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Ah yes. That’s a good point @theredlion . Airbnb contacted us (after the fact) about the first booking to say it was suspect and I’ve noticed that both profiles have now disappeared. I think I’ll take a view if there is another one. If I’m getting money for nothing, somebody somewhere must be losing out.