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BBC reporting rash of burglaries of Airbnb hosts due to hacking of accounts

Just heard BBC report that there have been a rash of burglaries of Airbnb hosts due to hacking of accounts. Does anyone have any information about this? Would be useful to us hosts to be aware of how this scam works, so we can be prepared.

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I heard the same report. It was clear that user accounts were being hacked and then hijacked before booking and then robbing the host’s property. This is something Airbnb has to work on as they control the security of their website; it’s not a scam that hosts can realistically avoid.

I am trying to make my address more vague. It means that even if someone did hack in they would not know the exact address. I can always give detailed instructions address to clients before they arrive. However don’t seem to be able to change it. Does any one have any advice?

Did you fully listen to the article? Guest accounts were hacked and taken over and bookings made with hosts whose properties were then ransacked. Making your address more vague won’t help you as on booking the guest (in this case a hacker) gets your full address.

Perhaps you are not aware that’s how the site works…

It is not very clear. That is why I came on this site to see if anyone here had a better insight into the scam.

Originally I thought like you it was a scam of taking over the guests account. However, if you listen to the chap who was robbed he says that he had received a text message to say someone was in his flat and it was not him (surely if he had let it out on Airbnb that would not be strange). He then says that his account had been compromised. This implied that someone had hacked his account and targeted his flat with access to his address (and possibly his birthday as it happened on his birthday).

Actually making the address more vague does help in both scenarios, as even if the guest’s account is hacked they will not be able to access my address immediately. Slightly more control.

I listened to an article on BBC radio 4. It was not reported the way you describe and there wasn’t anyone interviewed in the piece I heard. It was clear in the piece I listened to that guest accounts had been hijacked, hosts properties booked and subsequently ransacked. Airbnb’s response has been to improve security on its website. In this situation, you cannot make your address more vague.

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Sorry, this makes no sense. If someone has hacked your account, and you are a host, they have access to ALL your information including the address.

It was in the report I loaded onto my first post.

Ok found the video: no idea who he is referring to, my assumption is he’s talking about the original account owner contacting him saying; there’s someone in your flat but it’s not me as my account has been compromised.

Yes,smtucker, but now they will only get road name and postcode, not house number or flat number…so they would not find it easily.

Noblehua if a hacker has accessed your host account, all they need to do is click on your dashboard and they can see your full address. If a hacker has accessed and taken over a guest account all they need to do is book and get your full address in their booking confirmation.

This isn’t complicated stuff. There is no scenario where hackers don’t get access to the full information.

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I have removed the flat number and the street number, so almost impossible.

It’s not virtually impossible. What will you do when the hacker (who you don’t know is a hacker because they’ve taken over a guest’s account) asks for your address so they can check in? Not give it to them ?

I find your solution to this problem odd.

I got a notice that my account was being accessed from California and to change my password if it wasn’t me so I did right away.


I got a bunch of those. Turned out to be my smart.io account.

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Yep @Tz_Terri, that was very probably smartbnb.io ! :slight_smile:

Airbnb increased yesterday the scope of events triggering the sending of those “Account login notification”. I think that it is a good thing because it (slightly) improves security.

Oh, dear. I think my account was hacked. I was notified by Air of a login by me in California and a change of my listing on Wednesday but it happened only an hour after I had called Air CS and filed a resolution request. I thought maybe it was related. I changed my password anyway, ASAP, AND checked my banking information to make sure my funds were correct. Now what?

@CatskillsGrrl, if it was from Santa Clara, California, this most definitely was Smartbnb. You should have received an email from Smartbnb within 10 minutes after changing your Airbnb password.

@smartbnb.io I did receive and email from Smartbnb soon after, which wasn’t surprising since I knew the service could now no longer connect to my Airbnb account, but it was Smartbnb logging in as me, eh? I didn’t make that connection. I don’t think I ever was notified by Airbnb before in all the time I was using the trial.

Airbnb changed a few things yesterday and indeed started notifying hosts whenever there was a connection to the Airbnb website. This is why you weren’t notified of this before: things have changed.

Smartbnb’s usage of that connection was making sure that reservations were in sync, so that you would be charged the appropriate amount if you decided to subscribe.

EDIT: To clarify, you wouldn’t receive any of those emails today, as the method to keep your account in sync has changed in the meantime to match Airbnb’s expectations.

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