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Anyone getting weird last minute inquiries/requests?

Hi there

I have heard tell of some hosts (not me for some reason) getting last minute inquiries/requests despite the fact that in this area (CA) we are all pretty much prohibited from moving county to county or engaging ill in other non-essential activity.

My instinct is these last minute inquiries/reservation requests may be scams but I can’t imagine what the “guest” would stand to gain…

Thanks for any advice and sorry if this topic was covered here before

Got an Inquiry tonight from a new-in-May Guest who lives a few states away, saying he was born/raised here and is coming back to bury a parent this weekend. Wants to stay Sat & Sun night. We don’t see a real problem.

Not sure Florida has ‘officially’ opened non-hotel/motel rentals yet, but frankly I could care less. All of our Governor’s wealthy hotel/motel/resort owning buddies were allowed to keep renting over the last two months, but not private STRs like us…

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Last-minute bookings work in favor of a guest using a fraudulent payment method that doesn’t get discovered until after check-in. The guest might be trying to get one or more free nights, or they might want a place for a few hours for some nefarious purpose, including stealing everything on the property. Last-minute bookings are also one of the “red flags” for parties. In pretty much all cases, the scammers are targeting whole-place listings with off-site hosts.

I imagine now more hosts are willing to accept last-minute bookings out of desperation, so scamming has increased.

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@Brian_R170
Thank you!!

If STR is banned in your area why don’t you just block out the dates in your calendar? @Grendel

@Helsi
This isn’t occurring to me. I have gotten no requests or inquiries since pandemic was announced. My family member is getting the inquiries/requests. And a lot of them! STR were prohibited for a brief time in April, but not specifically prohibited now. Technically we are still under the government imposed SIP but there are exceptions- for instance if a first responder needs a home to stay in.

But you may be right- it might just be best all around to encourage her block the dates out for awhile to avoid the scammers who are apparently out in full force

I’m blocked off until the end of June currently. I may be opening next week, it all depends on if the contractors finish here this week and if the friend who may come stay this summer decides what they are going to do. I have a regular direct pay who has already contacted me about staying a couple of nights sometime in May. I don’t have the kind of listing that usually gets odd requests but I’m really curious to see how or if things will be different once I relist.

Nothing scammy or weird really, but definitely inappropriate inquiries and requests.

In March and April we got normal bookings - students stranded after dorm closures, locals wanting a place to work from home because their houses were full with family, people who just sold their house, etc. But at some point we started getting people fleeing hotspot cities, people not wanting to book long enough for the mandated quarantine and people doing recreational trips of some sort. Stupid stuff, so we closed down our 3rd unit and are just using it for personal use (there’s a shower stall good for bathing the dog). The other 2 units got monthly rentals at the end of March and are full until Sept, except for a couple weeks in June, which we also blocked off.

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The timing of the lockdown has worked well with the bathroom remodeling. Not only would I not be able to have guests due to all the noise all day long but I’ve used the guest room to sleep in. That kept me out of the space where the workers are going in and out all day. It’s also been nice and clean. I did find out that it’s noisier in there than I expected at times and I need to tweak a few things before I host guests again.

I found something too. I took a shower in there (we have a clawfoot only in our apt) and realized that when you lift the shampoo or shower gel out, the caddy swings back and forth and everything in there falls over. I can’t believe no one has said anything. It drove me so nuts, I’m not using the shower again until we get it fixed.

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Yes, at the home in Calif foothills that I manage, a fella from San Jose asked for a two week stay, starting the next day. I asked him my normal questions, and he went away…

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Yes. Have had similar experiences, never before had so many flaky inquiries and from many brand new Airbnb users (just joined, zero reviews). Started literally the day of the shutdown. Not sure any are actually scamming, I think its due to people’s job situation changing, and they maybe want to go somewhere else for a while, or maybe not. So many don’t follow through. Some are “fishing” to see how low you will drop your rate. A lot of uncertainty right now, for everybody, it has definitely made inquiries more unpredictable than ever before.

What, hosts ask questions? You mean they actually care who shows up at their door and stays in their home? I’m outta here :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I have had a few scam requests saying that they are first responders and that I need to contact them via private email. Usually their Engilsh is terrible so it could be coming from another country. I have had to report three requests so far.

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@host3333
Thanks! That all makes sense

I was coming here to ask the same question! I just unblocked our calendar for this weekend and next after our county rescinded the STR ban. I’ve gotten 5-6 inquiries/requests but they’re all SO different from those that we would normally get. It’s making my spidey senses go up and I’m going to re-block my calendar for now. I’ve had a few stay requests from people living in Ohio, one from Miami (we’re in southern CA). It also seemed strange to me that I’m getting so many inquiries for this coming weekend, but only 1 so far for next weekend (which is a holiday). :thinking:

i got three queries in two days. all were last minute, from people who live in my city, who just joined, and who have no reviews so can’t instant book.

the first one asked and then never followed up. the second one i entertained and tried to work with - a stepmom with three teenagers (my place fits 3 max), and the family is in town for the funeral of her sister who was murdered in 2017. she waited hours before answering my questions (how old are the kids, why are you looking if you live in atl), and then put pressure on me to preapprove. so i did, and then she told me airbnb wouldn’t let her proceed, asking if i was mad with her or didn’t trust her, swearing she was legit, and then offering to meet me on the side and give me an extra 40 over what i was asking. so i finally said no.
a third booking request came in right after that; just minutes. as if someone was taking the time to switch identities and try again. i said no right off the bat.
and then a fourth booking, from someone with a history on airbnb and good reviews, coming in from out of town and needing a place for him and his girlfriend. he instant booked. i was still suspicious, but he turned out to be a real guest, and i’m happy i waited and rented to him instead of taking three obvious chancers.
so something is definitely going on here.
they mostly joined in february, or march, and they want to book last minute, and they’re local. so that means a party, right? i don’t need that, especially now. i’m waiting a week before letting my cleaner in there, with all bookings (i’ve had three since the rona got going).
i have no idea what the scammers are looking for if it’s not a party.

me too. I have a place in San Diego that is all of a sudden getting many requests
I am very suspicious but really can’t figure what the ultimate scam is?

There’s definitely something funky going on, I just wish I knew what it was! This is obviously very anecdotal, but I was getting a bunch of weird inquiries (like people putting more guests than were actually coming…what?!). Anyway, I finally got what seemed like a pretty normal inquiry from someone in Seattle, (our place is in Temecula) and I asked about that since both states are still on lock down. She said ‘oh I don’t live there anymore I just haven’t updated my profile’, fair enough. Something told me to still decline (under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have), and after I declined and said “I don’t feel comfortable accepting guests from LA since they just extended their stay at home” she said “oh actually we’re staying in La Jolla right now” and seemed very desperate to rent our place (also kind of strange). After that exchange I delisted our property (we’re planning to list our property on June 3rd anyway).

My neighbor down the road, with a considerably bigger home and occupancy, accepted a last minute request from someone with a bunch of good reviews and who was also a host for this past weekend. I jokingly said “I hope he’s normal and who he says he is!” First night was a nightmare for them with the guests yelling and screaming all night and them having to ask multiple times to be quiet. Second night, same thing and then on check out day they refused to leave (kept asking for more time) so she finally went over there 1.5 hours after checkout and they had taken down part of her temporary/safety fencing around her pool and were just hanging out. They had damaged her sprinklers so she was meeting the plumber there. After they still wouldn’t leave after she demanded in person she had to involve the cops (for the first time ever, and she’s had some DOOZIES!). She later found out that they drove cars all over her sport court and tore it up ($15k to get fixed), people were on the roof at some point, lots of drug paraphernalia in the house, etc.

All that to say, go with your gut! I wish I could figure out why all the crazies seem to be coming out, but I can’t place it!

The crazies have been pressure cooking at home for months…when the lid comes off, it explodes!

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