Hosts beware! Wave of last minute scam instant bookings. Burglarized by one

I have been hosting for over 2 years In San Diego and never seen this happen.
In last 2 weeks I had one instant booker for one night, which tuned out to be a thief. $1000 worth of items stolen from the condo. Even though the instant booker supposedly verified the id with the Airbnb system, I think the system is automatic and will accept any id sent. AirBnb needs to fix this ASAP
Since the incident we started to verify Identity of everyone who books and will be checking in. So far 3 last minute late instant bookings for 1 night stay turned out to be scammers as well, I cant think of any other explanation. After I requested Identity verification from the instant-bookers there was no response, no phone calls, no cancellation, they never showed up. Im assuming there will be charge backs from the owners of the stolen credit cards…

May I ask where your Airbnb place is? Thank you!

edited my post… San Diego

Is Airbnb helping you?

Yes they are working with me on the unit that has been burglarized… What concerns me is that 3 other instantbookers after the incident simply never showed up after I mentioned identity verification.

Would you please explain “Identification Verification” – did they not have their ID verified on Airbnb or do you mean that you would verify it yourself, either via email or in person? This is very scary!


Did they had reviews?

Sorry, this happened to you.

But this could be a good thing for hosts that do not like IB to be forced on them.
Hope these kind of IB abuse gets out in the open.

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Yes, it is worth understanding that Airbnb does not manually check ID for verification. It is all done by software. And the company that designed that software went bankrupt. If you’re using IB I would most definitely turn on the option that says the guest needs to have one positive review before they can book.


People should always check id themselves. I don’t understand why this is even a question. Is the United States such a safe place? I used to live there, and I don’t think so.

And depending on Airbnb’s verification system is insanely stupid (no offense). Of course it’s done by machine. Does anyone imagine that people are checking those IDs?


That is what you get when you start using remote listings, and unattended entrance.

You can have as much camera and security systems as you want, but nothing is better than meeting people in person. And checking them yourselves.

I can imagine these kinds of criminals search for luxurious places, in busy places, where people do not meet in the host in person.


I agree when no review on the client. If many review, I don’t think it’s the same risk

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I still think people should check the ID.

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The guests had no reviews and they were new users.

I really cant believe how irresponsible Airbnb is in ID verification and making sure that stolen cards are not used. Airbnb is working on the payout for the stolen items, but all this could of been avoided if verification was actually done by a person… Im very fortunate that the thief’s did not trash or damage the place, could of been much worse…

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This would be hard work, probably very expensive, and would be a significant bottleneck in Airbnb’s operations. So it’s very unlikely to happen. Airbnb’s verification process is all about false reassurance, unfortunately.


Alex1 what ID do you ask for, do you advise them that they need to show their ID to you on Airbnb when they arrive at the place to check in? I think that is a great idea and I intend to start doing it myself, considering the payment doesn’t go through until the next day someone could book then come and take everything and just disappear.

I am so sorry for what happened to you, we had a similar thing happen today but they just took random things like towels and burnt our kettle (set fire it it).


I’ve never checked a guest’s ID. To be honest, I’m not really sure what I would gain from that. How am I supposed to tell from someone’s passport whether they’ll be a good guest or not? And if they don’t have ID, it’s not like I can cancel their reservation, per Airbnb’s rules. Do you check your guests’ ID?

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Surfacing this thread.

I just had a couple of waves of scam bookings at my place. All last minute. All fresh profiles (new members). On the most recent day, I was deep into conversation about check in time, too, before Airbnb canceled the booking and reached out to me, saying there had been a payment problem.

But not before the guest got my phone number and texted me to try to arrange to check in.

I’m not totally sure what was going on, but I think it’s some sort of payments scam. Airbnb CS (trust & safety) wouldn’t specifically tell me but I could hear from the sound of the person’s voice that yes, there was some sort of payments scam that they were dealing with. Any other ideas?

The T&S staffer tried to get me to turn off Instant Book for my listing… I was like, well, I don’t really want to, because I still have open dates on my calendar several months out, and I really like offering the instant book option. (Also, I thought this was weird, given their push to try to increase IB.) So she just said she’d monitor my listing throughout the day and to contact her if there were any other bookings. Sure enough, I got another booking, and I checked with Airbnb & they canceled it. Third booking of the day, however, was a legit one!! Thank goodness for the bump in search results you get after a cancellation.

A friend sent me this article from my hometown. I haven’t been with airbnb long enough to know how this could have happened. I have discontinued IB for several reasons. I guess this is another to think about.

The real lesson with that story is, if there is a cancelation you should change the code. And the bigger lesson is, you should ALWAYS change the code between guests. Each guest should only have a code that works while they are staying at the home.