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Anyone getting weird last minute inquiries/requests?

Yes! I’ve been getting so many strange inquiries and requests from people booking same day, some that live in my city. I’ve been denying all of them. I have gotten 2 that seem legit. I wish we could figure out what’s going on here…

The house I manage in Calaveras county still has no STR’s allowed. This I found out after I had booked an Air guy for this week. $1000 fine. I asked the owner how to proceed and he said lets let this one go on, but cancel the rest of June until Gov. “Newscum” says its OK to rent again.

STR is banned until further notice in PA and i had all my guests cancel for the rest of the year so to my surprise one lady from LA booked me like at 10 am on sat morning, for the same day and sent me a message saying she is visiting friends in the area (?!) and she needed a place to put her head down. I was very surprised and i lectured her about the virus and refunded her the money. i mean wth, didnt she hear we were under quarantine? How come she visit friends out of the blue as if theres business as usual? didnt she hear about social distancing? especially that she was in the vulnerable age group, retired over 65… Jesus Christ… I thought i’ve seen it all

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update a week later.

i blocked a week from the last booking (weekend of may 16) to let any virus particles pop and die. this friday evening, the first day back on the market, i got three requests in a row, all from locals, all joined in feb-may 2020, all with zero reviews. the first query was short - is this available today? - the second one was more creative - “I’m Adriana I always get an Airbnb once a month just to get away from the house and I bring 3 other guest most of the time. There is a lot of beautiful homes listed and yours is actually one of the best ones that grabbed my attention. I have read all house rules and I believe I would be a good guest that fits your home expectations.” (i point out that she’s been with airbnb since may 2020 and says she always gets an airbnb once a month, which is an obvious lie)

the third one tried a different tack - “Stacy5:47 PM, Hello I am interested to book your home I know it’s last minute but a host previously canceled so n me so I would gladly appreciate it.” i observed that she lives here so why get a room: “My fiancé is visiting we get married next week we just want a private place to have to ourselves.” when i told her there were definitely no parties or extra guests allowed, she stopped answering

and then, immediately after declining their bookings, i get an actual booking from an actual couple who are coming into town from hundreds of miles away to see their kid who just moved here before the rona. and they instant booked. and they were fine.

so this is two weeks in a row of the same exact thing happening, even down to the final real booking. something organized is happening, and i can’t figure out what it is, but there’s either a playbook or a forum or a meme on how to scam airbnbs, because they’re using the same limited and obvious methods.

btw i have a one night minimum but i have a strict cancellation policy and won’t take anybody who hasn’t been reviewed. no cameras, but wording about parties in my rules. also i have militant elves who run people off when they don’t like the looks of them.

Thanks for taking the time to update us.

It might not be a scam, they might actually pay but just have a party.

I do advise that you get cameras although I’d prefer militant elves if I could get some.

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That’s been going on for awhile- there are blogs and online exchanges where people exchange info on how to scam a free stay (bring a couple dead cockroaches, put them on the bed or the kitchen counter, take a photo, claim there were bedbugs, etc.), or what to say to bamboozle a host so you can have a party, to look for new listings where the host isn’t savvy about how to vet guests, etc. I think it’s just escalated now with them talking about how hosts are desperate for bookings since all the COVID cancellations, so now’s a great time to book an Airbnb and also get a big discount.
That’s my theory, anyway.

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I’ve had a dozen “requests” in the past 3 weeks. I believe none were legit.

Easy to spot, such as; not saying my first name when inquiring (like, Hi “X”) , or ALL joining during May 2020, and the big one? Severe lack of punctuation, and misspellings… I mean, we all make mistakes sometimes…but not multiple ones, and…finally, the BIG one…

… having one with run-on sentences that seem to go on forever and then they tell you something else which is very interesting but not really pertinent but is awfully annoying and how this is a last-minute “trip” or “surprise” or some other transparent excuse for why they are booking in your city when they live one or three or 5 miles away.

WHEW!

(and, P.S. the request… “I see there is not smoking, but can I smoke just a little”?)

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