Fake guest profile - odd

Hi! We’ve been hosts for four months and generally things have been fine. We’re in the East of England and all our guests have been nice. But this morning we got an enquiry for two nights end of March from “Ken” in China, no reviews, joined 1st February (i.e. this morning!), with a photo of a pretty blonde woman. Entire message, “Hello, is there a swimming pool?”. (If there was it would certainly be in the listing!!!).

We said simply “No, can’t help you”, declined and did a reverse search on the photo. It’s of a popular Australian actress. We reported the profile as fake.

It’s all a bit weird and has got us thinking. All our instant books have been fine, all our enquiries have been odd.

Is there anything else we can do about Kens and their kin?



Chances are their next step was to try to pay outside of ABB. The scam was stopped so the system worked.


I also had a similar experience yesterday. A lady from Brazil who opened her profile last month, asked for 22 days at our home and the only line she wrote was “How far are you from La Verne University?”.

Wouldn’t you check that before inquiring a $7,000 house 100 miles away? :wink:


Yes, an educated and experienced traveler would want to check the distance between locales but you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Besides, if it wasn’t a scam, you know the woman would not want to travel 3 hrs. a day anyway so just let her know.

Does posting a picture that is clearly not a photo of the person constitute a fake? Because it’s not uncommon for people do post drawings, for example. Or a group shot where it’s unclear who the person is.

I find it mildly annoying when people post anything but recognizable photos of themselves. But I’m not sure if it constitutes a fake or not.

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The photo is of a well known actress named Yvonne in Australia, not a man from China named Ken! Looks fake to us! We’ve decided not to take bookings unless they give some backstory why they’re coming and have a legit looking photo. It’s our house, we live there!


Good for you, Artfulbadger, to do the reverse search.

A fake is a fake is a fake. And you don’t know who is coming in your home. The fact that you know nothing about them, and that they have no equity on Airbnb, should be enough to put you off. Once they get the key, it’s anybody’s guess.

I’ve had a last minute guest get an instant booking with a two word intro and an obstructed photo, plus no prior reviews (she’d been in one listing the night before, but the system hadn’t posted the host review yet).

Air cancelled.

She disregarded this and showed up anyway. The insults were loud and personal.

The case manager told me “Some hosts should not be on Airbnb”. I’m a SH, and it wasn’t a good day.


Appalling. And then when you called about her showing up the Airbnb CSR didn’t support you?


What a terrible situation for you, Mandi! We’re gentle souls and I’m not sure how we’d feel about continuing to host if we had to deal with loud insults. I don’t understand why Air thought the host was at fault when they were the ones who cancelled the booking.

We live at the edge of England in a place that people come to for fairly specific reasons, so we don’t get too many randoms, luckily. We don’t do last minute or long stays, and only take three to four guests a month.

Everyone in our future calendar has a good reason for visiting, but a couple don’t have photos. I think I’ll figure out a way to gently ask for one in future. We were all first time guests once, but until you have some reviews there are other ways to have bonafides.


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This guest provided a 2 word into: “visit daughter”. She booked on less than 12 hours’ notice, probably while staying in her first ever Airbnb suite. The review from this stay did not show until after she was en route, which for some reason took another 12 hours, but she was still able to IB.

The Case Manager was an aggressive American who insisted that her 2 words were a sufficient introduction. He DID make several attempts to contact her, but for reasons of her own, she chose to ignore these and proceed to my home.

I found her and her daughter in my kitchen (I have self check in) about 9:30 pm when I came in from the gym. The guest immediately attacked me verbally, calling me ugly, old, stupid, and incompetent. She refused any offer of assistance, and continued to rant at me outside of my home.

The Case Manager formally apologized to me. He also surmised that “some hosts should not be on Airbnb”. Hmmm - I was, and still am, SH. But that, and $2, will get you a coffee, not credibility. He cancelled the reservation using 1 out of the 3 IB cancellation options we have per year.

As most of us have seen, much depends on the CSR or Case Manager we deal with. For my part, I now have an Everest of CYA descriptions, terms and rules, and proudly acknowledge same on my profile. I was, and am, very picky. And I have no problem turfing bad apples on the spot.

I also learned that “support” from Airbnb is sporadic. I am responsible for who gets in and out of my home, and in effect, am my own Host Guarantee.

From all accounts, this case was exceptional. In fairness, 95% of guests are pleasant, easy to deal with, and in many cases have been a pleasure to accommodate. Of late, there’s been less of them, but the quality of the people has been, at times, extraordinary. That’s why I keep doing what I’m doing.




“I am responsible for who gets in and out of my home, and in effect, am my own Host Guarantee.”



Just popping in here to ask for CYA stands for.

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Cover Your Ass, i.e., protect yourself.


Thank you for the clarification, @KKC. These acronym explanations are often obvious in hindsight, but often I don’t think of the correct explanation at the time.


Yes, for instant bookings, you can add requirements, that they must be previously positively reviewd, and/or that they must have a government issued ID. We have found that just the positive reviews cut down on a lot of random requests. But we have also had people with clearly made-up names and unrecognizable or nonexistent profile pictures, who turned out to be absolutely lovely, ideal guests.


Yes, we are looking at the whole picture and making the call from that. Just because someone is a first-timer doesn’t mean they will be a bad guest. We prefer someone, in any instance, who introduces themself, says why they are visiting, sounds genuine. That combined with some bonafides (ID, reviews, photo, etc.) gives us a feeling of confidence. In future, if the first message seems OK but a bit thin, we’ll ask a few questions in a friendly way and gauge the response.

All our guests so far have been fine, a few super fine, so we think we are offering the right thing in the right place to the right sort of people.


The oddest thing is that someone would even consider swimming in March in the UK.

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Only if the host had a lovely indoor heated pool that was in all the listing photos, because if you had one that’s what you would do. Except we don’t, so our Ken in China is deffo a scam-merchant!

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I don’t know if you watched the CEO of AirBnB on the live Webinar a few weeks ago. He was asked that question and he chose not to answer it. I’m thinking that the reason that AirBnB does not insist on a genuine photo of the guest is to reduce the possibility of guests having bookings declined because of their appearance.

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I just had this exact request yesterday from a guy in Brazil. Same number of days. Asking for my address so he could check the proximity to a local English school.

I responded by asking for the address of the school so I could see where it was and let him know. Clearly the same scam attempt. I can’t totally figure out what outcome they are looking to achieve but I did online dating for years and the skills I developed to detect weirdos have come in VERY handy since becoming a host.