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My listing was scammed and I'm still waiting for help 10 days later!

I made a beginners mistake a couple of weeks after my listing went up. I’d received 2 bookings so was excited to get a 3rd enquiry but I didn’t spot the suspicious elements especially that it asked me to click on a link to see where the person had read about my property.

That person was a scammer and got into my page and replaced my listing with their own.

I noticed this when I got a message first saying my telephone number had changed and then telling me to change me password. When I went to do that I saw the change to my listing.

That was 10 days ago now and I’ve called Airbnb 4 times. They say it’s a serious case and it’s being handled by the special team that deals with this kind of thing.

They have promised to call me back several times (‘in 24 hours’, ‘in 48 hours’, ‘we don’t know when’). The last time I spoke they said they had no idea how long it would take to fix and the person I spoke to said they couldn’t even call the specialist team themselves - so they really don’t have any idea.

It’s really frustrating me that they can’t tell me how long it will take, don’t try and manage my expectations or experience in any way, and I’m starting to think they don’t have it under control.

I’ve unlisted for now so I think I’m safe. I asked if I should start again with a new page etc but they understandably said not to as it would cause confusion and trouble later when the original page is fixed.

Does anyone have a similar experience and any advice to give.

Thanks

Forgive my curiosity - if you’ve been able to get back in to your listing that would imply that the scammer didn’t change the password. So why can’t you just change the phone number (and anything else they changed) back to what it should be, change the password and then forget all about it. And how would the scam work anyway? How would the scammer make any money out of this given that you wouldn’t let any guests who had booked since the scam in to your property? I feel like I’ve missed something here because I’m not sure it makes sense…

Post on facebook/twitter on the air bnb page.

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No, I don’t understand it either. There was an inquiry with a link in it? Airbnb censors links. Please let us have more details.

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Hi Geddy3
Thanks for quick response.
To tell the truth I’m all confused too.
But, first of all I changed the password not them.
What they did before I did that was change the title, all the photos and the description and pricing.
My calendar is still there with one booking and my guidebook and amenities - and my first review which arrived yesterday.
It’s like someone got in and started changing stuff but didn’t finish.
In my profile only my phone number was changed . Everything else is untouched.
I have no idea how this benefits anyone.
Air haven’t been very helpful - but maybe you’re right. Id love to get going again.
Does anyone else think I should just change everything back to my content and list again?
Thanks Geddy3 for your thoughts.

Hi Jaquo
The enquiry looked like an Airbnb booking enquiry and said (cut and pasted from the email)

'Hi ,

I would like to book for 5 nights. I will travel to London single. I saw reports about your listing on airbnb forum. I don’t understand why.

Here is the link, please check:
forum-search-london-6028.AlrHost.online’

so like an idiot I cut and pasted that into my browser which took me straight to my airbnb listing already logged in - and presumably it took Marie (email 211f0gpz5pu9edkgs906t0wq1kiz@reply.airbnb.com) there too.

I just checked all the emails that came in from Airbnb - and the first said my phone number was removed and then photos updated. After that I changed the password and unlisted.

What do you think happened here and what to do next?!

So this message wasn’t on the Airbnb platform? They claimed to have seen ‘reports’ about your listing here?

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Here’s how the scam works -

  1. Scammer selects an unsuspecting host with good reviews, and tricks them to click on a fake airbnb link and enter their password.
  2. Scammer uses password to hijack the host’s listing. (This is done because not many users will book a place without reviews). Sometimes photos, information, and pricing are changed to make it more attractive.
  3. In the fake listing, scammer includes a photo instructing people to “email me for discount” or similar.
  4. Unsuspecting airbnb user decides to book the place, emails the scammer, and is replied with instructions to “bank transfer the payment” to their account, all using a fake airbnb-looking website.
  5. Scammer receives payment from airbnb user.

It sounds like the scammer made the first steps to hijack your listing but then abandoned it for some reason. Check your photos - maybe there is one encouraging people to email.

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bingo hpertokyo!

I’ve been meaning to check it but there IS a photo with email addresses:

So is there any reason not to simply remove all the fake photos and change all the listing details back to mine.
Is there any way they could have found out my bank details etc?

Thanks so much for explaining this to me.

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no they claimed it was on “airbnb forum.”

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Wow. I swear I’ve seen a picture like this somewhere. Did someone post it here asking how hosts got away with doing that? And now I think it was a hijacked listing.

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Oh! So it was phishing … interesting!

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I had a few of these scam emails and the link went through. I did not click on it but reported it to air. The email asked why my listing was in two places and with two different prices. Scammers seem to know how to imbed a link without the bots picking it up.

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Yes @KKC
There was a thread with that crazy Times Square listing with a photo of contact info but it was reported so it’s been taken down

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Both guests and hosts are very susceptible to these, or so I’ve read. Guests in particular get very vocal about it thinking that Airbnb should refund them the money that the scammers got away with. Yet Airbnb has been taken advantage of too.

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Maggieroni the link wasn’t actually clickable. I was a double dummy in that when it didn’t click through I actually cut and pasted it into my browswer. So the bot did get it! I feel such an idiot.

But can anyone reassure me that it’s OK to just get on with putting everything back right on my listing and start getting bookings again?

Thanks everyone for your really helpful messages.
Q

Maggieoni

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What does everyone think? I think OP can just change the pw and remove all that the phisher uploaded. I don’t see how they could have accessed any banking info as it is encrypted. Quinti, set up your bank accounts to send you alerts for any activity, i.e.: deposits, withdrawals, daily balances, etc.

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I mean, frankly, not to shame anyone - it does NOT even look like an Airbnb email. Not that that means anything - most sophisticated phishing scams look exactly like the brands they are impersonating. It ain’t hard.

No, in this day and age one must be ever vigilant. Always check the address of the link you’re being asked to follow. If it is anything OTHER than the brand’s domain - DO NOT GO THERE.

There are lots of good phishing awareness tutorials out there. These are just a few: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=phishing+awareness

To the original poster, @quinti, it seems like you could at least delete your listing and add it again. But I would bug them up on social media. It is the only way to get a response these day.

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I don’t think it was trying to. The scammer said “I saw reports about your listing on airbnb forum. I don’t understand why.” Then sent a link to what was presumably what the scammer saw on a forum, which was this:

If you look closely it says ALrHost.online it doesn’t even say Airhost.

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One last thing that I haven’t seen mentioned: please make sure that your bank information is correct. The scammer might have put their paypal or bank information in so that any payments go to them instead of you.

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