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

And cameras! Every off site host should have cameras and most on site hosts. And prominently display them in your listing.


Hi @londonflat,

Yes, I check guest ID. This is a good idea, because in the case of criminal and/or illegal activity, a guest will not want to give you information about himself or herself. Refusing to give information is the first line of defense of criminals. (I don’t know how many criminals you know personally, but I’ve met a few. They’re quite common around here.) Common examples, at least in the West, are prostitution and credit card fraud.

In my experience, people are generally willing to show ID. I’ve had one exception - a Canadian who seemed visibly nervous (over email) at the idea of having to show ID. He asked me questions about it, and finally cancelled around 5 days before his arrival - he only had a one day stay. I have a moderate policy, so I didn’t get anything. And he had a really flimsy excuse - his arrival and/or departure (I forget which) were outside my stated check-in and check-out times. But I’ve stated on the listing that I can be flexible, and in fact most guests don’t pay much (if any attention) to the posted times. Maybe it was innocent, but it’s hard to know, of course.

Random example on this site: http://www.airhostsforum.com/t/instant-book-to-thieving-prostitute-with-bad-id-no-payment-or-response-from-airbnb/6460/
You should be able to find others. Oh, and actually the thread itself has some discussion of these issues.


Many of us host our whole house and can’t check ID. What’s more, I can’t change my codes. I don’t have a wifi enabled lock. I have an old fashioned lockbox. While I can change the combo manually, I can’t do it in-between guests.

That would scare me… I have the small piece of mind that I can change my code to the lockbox the MINUTE anyone makes me uncomfortable. And past guests can’t get into my place before they are checked in or after they leave.

The difference between renting out space that is off site from your “real” life and space that is close by or your own home is really becoming apparent to me.

This is my real home. I have an apartment in NYC that I rent and a cottage in the Catskill mountains that I own and pour my heart info.

Clearly, I wasn’t clear. I am sympathetic to this situation. For me, this is one of my protections- being able to change that code. I wish you had the same.

Thank you, @sandyb. I just removed all mention of my keypad in my listing and changed, “I will try to meet you in person”, to “I will meet you in person upon arrival.” I will now give the particulars about entering my place only in the welcome e-mail I meet about 80% of my guests – I only don’t when they come in later than 7 p.m. Now, I will make it clear that I will make a personal appearance the following morning.

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@CatskillsGrrl I know you live in Manhattan so it might be worth the cost of a wifi lock. I have a keypad deadbolt and it is very easy to change the code. Since I am my own cleaning person, I change it when I’m there to clean.

You could ask for a color scan by email in advance if you can’t check in person. This isn’t; perfect, but it’s a lot better than nothing. So you don’t have anyone locally you does a meet-and-greet and tour?

You know your country has the a law that requires to register your guests data? Immigration (Hotel Records) Order 1972

I know there is a new EU law that requires the digital storage of all guest data. I am looking for the specific law, since I only have the local derivation from it.

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Alex, with separate units its quite dangerous to not meet a guest, but you already understood it yourself.
Also, last minute bookings, especially when you dont live on a property are very alarming, and even in advisories from other booking sites its number 1 sign of fraudulent bookings. They use stollen credit cards, and before you are aware of it, they already in your property, destroying and stealing.
Also, they sometimes book for several days, but dont stay the full lenth. They only book it so it will look like its just a family vacation. They stay that one day, rob, or party, do drugs, or even sell drugs out of your home, and then leave.

The best is to meet a guest, and have a license photographed. But better to avoid last minute bookings altogether. Also IB and 1 day rentals are not a good combination especially with separate units, and especially when you dont meet people in person. To have it set up like this is calling for troubles. 1 day rental often means parties or some kind of celebration. Its never good.


Interesting. We have something similar here. It’s a giant pain in the neck. Or possibly somewhere else.

Also interesting.

If you have links for either or both of these, I’d like to see them. Thanks.

German version (§29 and §30): https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bmg/BJNR108410013.html

This is the new Austrian version: https://www.usp.gv.at/Portal.Node/usp/public/content/brancheninformationen/gastronomie_und_tourismus/gaesteblattsammlung/46368.html

Still looking for the EU one.

Hi @alex1

Sorry to hear this happened to you. Do you correspond with guests before accepting their bookings. If not this is a good way to filter dodgy guests. If you have IB on - I would suggest you turn it off?

Do you use BNB’s fully verified setting so they need to provide passport or driving license ID?

Having individual staff doing manually ID checks would be prohibitively expensive and I don’t think the majority of hosts would be willing to pay for this.

Arguably that’s being done by Airbnb.

Are you sure @Chris?

I was told that only applied to hotels - not to your own home.

And the UK is no longer in the EU :frowning:

It isn’t. They have a machine doing it. And let’s say for the sake of argument that they are storing data - will they give it to you? Ask them.

And a number of people on this forum have said that Airbnb let fake id through in their verification process. It shouldn’t be hard to find those examples.

Also, those EU laws, I’m pretty sure, expect you to keep the data, not some third party.

Told by who? I’d get this in writing.

Chris’s first reference, i.e.

is a British thing. Look it up. E.g. https://www.visitbritain.org/pink-book/registration-and-data-protection

And here’s something from Cambridge City Council discussing this - https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/default/files/docs/uk-border-agency-investigation.pdf

Here we have to submit a form. But it seems the UK just want you to maintain your own record.

And the UK is still in the EU for now.

Application of Order

3. This Order shall apply in the case of any hotel or other premises, whether furnished or unfurnished, where lodging or sleeping accommodation is provided for reward, not being premises certified by the chief officer of police of the area in which they are situate to be occupied for the purposes of a school, hospital, club or other institution or association.

You are taking reward, isn’t it? So it applies to you.

And the UK is still in, negotiations on getting out, will start somewhere begin 2017. The real exit is planned to be finished in 2020.

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Records to be maintained by keeper of premises

5. The keeper of any premises to which this Order applies shall—

(a)require all persons of or over the age of 16 years who stay at the premises to comply with their obligations under the foregoing Article; and

(b)keep for a period of at least 12 months a record in writing of the date of arrival of every such person and of all information given to him by any such person in pursuance of the foregoing Article;

You are the keeper of the premises, not AirBnB.

Chris are you from the UK?

I don’t think you are correct or BNB would make it a condition of UK listings that UK hosts need to do this - which they don’t.

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