Should I report potential spammer?

Got this message, seems like potential spam/scammer. At best they are trying to cheat by going outside airbnb system for reservation. Should I report? If it is a clueless older person who is not internet savvy I’d hate to make them feel bad. Also I don’t want to draw attention/hostility to myself from them by reporting. I don’t know what the URL is that airbnb censored but I would assume if it was a sketchy site air would take care of this on their own?

This is the message history:

Them: “I’m coming to your area to be close to my high schooler who was accepted into a 7 week Harvard summer school program starting around June 18th. Please let me know if you can accommodate my stay by phone or email. Thank you, Monic(URL HIDDEN)”

Me: “For various reasons, legal, moral, insurance, avoiding scams, I won’t go out of airbnb system. If you complete your profile (esp the verified IDs part) and are willing to book through them, I’ll send you an offer for 20% off due to the length of stay.”

Them: “I’m not sure who you are or what you mean. Are you renting a property on airbnb?”

Me: “Yes. You wrote me first.”

Them: “Which property”

At that point I decided it was completely pointless to correspond further.

I had a confusing exchange with a potential guest once. He wanted to come to my house one morning and sleep a few hours for a discount. After 5 or 6 messages back and forth I finally flagged him and quit responding to him. He had to make it absolutely clear he was trying to book outside the system before I did so.

In your case, it seems like a clueless person has messaged several hosts. If I were really interested in the booking I might write back and give them another chance before reporting them.

That sounds like quite a heavy reply to probably a first time user without a clue.

Why didn’t you just reply something like: “Hi Monic, thanks for choosing us. The dates you are requesting are available and we can accommodate you. We only accept reservations though AirBnB. This is an easy and swift proces: You only need to ID-verify your account and link it with your credit card. We will be happy to have you. Best regards.”

Talking about discounts when no discount was asked for is not really smart for your wallet either.


If somebody accidentally puts a ‘.’ While typing, Airbnb will recognise that as an URL. So she probably just typed ‘thanks, Monic.a’

It happens when you try to type from a phone sometimes.

Your response did seem quite heavy handed. A new user wouldn’t necessarily know that you wouldn’t have access to their phone number or email address until booking


When I get a message that doesn’t quite sit right I check their profile. If they are a new user I reply to them along the lines : I see you are a new user to Airbnb, if you’d complete your profile etc (whatever else they need to do) we can proceed with the reservation.
I try to help but at some point will stop holding their hand.

Her explanation of why she will be in the area seems feasible.

And yes, Airbnb always block any info , telephone numbers, email addresses, websites contained in the messages until a booking is confirmed.

I agree completely with @GutHend. Maybe you are inundated with requests and fully booked in your area so can afford to turn away enquiries that require some effort? Me, I’m in a heavily competitive place with a ton of newbie hosts at rock-bottom prices so I have to fight to turn every enquiry into a booking. Dealing with such requests is part of the business, in my opinion. [quote=“somerair, post:1, topic:13433”]
I would assume if it was a sketchy site air would take care of this on their own?
You assume wrong! Their redaction of urls and numbers is automated, way over the top and very frustrating They do a lot but they’re not your nanny. You need to manage your own business. They just provide the interface on which to do it. Sorry if that sounds stern but it’s true. The only way to get comfortable with the process is to ENGAGE with your potential guests. There is no magic formula - you have to put in the effort.

I seem to be in bossy teacher mode tonight, sorry :frowning:


I’ve had similar messages plenty of times and my response has always been something like ‘Yes, the apartment is available at that time. You can book by going to the listing and clicking the ‘book’ link. Please let me know if you have any questions an I look forward to seeing you here’. Yes, sometimes I’ve had to hold their hands a bit during the booking process but that’s fine.

Sorry - can’t let this one by without commenting! Older people are usually a lot more 'internet savvy than younger people. After all, many ‘older persons’ have been using the internet for 25+ years. Twenty-year-olds haven’t. :wink:


How is my access to their phone number/email address relevant to this discussion?

Actually, I have had airbnb catch spammers and then send me followup emails apologizing for the fact that I rec’d a message from one.

Who said I’m not managing my own business or putting in any effort? My actions show very clearly I’m taking an approach that avoids people who are either spam or want to violate the terms of use. If you are going to be bossy, you have to be right. And if you find yourself apologizing for what you wrote, just delete it without posting.

Have to say I’m kind of surprised how most people are willing to give someone a pass who wants to violate the terms of use. Usually people on this forum view that as sketchy. Going outside the system is approaching shoplifting, it is hard to see how someone could not know that, even if they hadn’t used the service before.

Because you said that the person enquiring asked you to phone or email. A new user knows that she has entered her phone number and email address into the system when she joined Airbnb.

What she doesn’t know, and sometimes more experienced guests don’t realise, is that the host doesn’t see those details when a potential guest is simply enquiring. This is why long-time hosts get similar messages from time to time.

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@somerair -
The responses you received were not suggesting you give the person a “pass”. They were pointing out that perhaps the inquirer was just not as familiar with the system as your other inquirers, and treating the person constructively as being unfamiliar with the rules might end well.

If you are not comfortable with this person, then it’s absolutely your choice to either report them or just decline them and go on with your life.

As I said in my first response to you, the person inquiring had to make it clear they were trying to book outside the system. It looks just as likely that they were messaging a lot of people and maybe replying to an email as they were trying a scam.

Sometimes a little patience goes a long way.

This doesn’t sound like a scammer. I get this kind of inquiry all the time. It’s usually someone brand new who doesn’t realize they cannot email. Scammers are pretty obvious, and actually quite rare on Air these days.

Since you quoted the entire message from this prospective guest, the others who have advised you here have realized that in this particular case, the guest does not seem to be deliberately trying to transact outside of the system. I share the same opinion and assessment. Guest just seems clueless and is most likely a newbie. There’s a difference between a deliberate attempt to scam and being unfamiliar with how Air works.

Really? It’s probably hard for you to see, as you are obviously already convinced that the guest was a scammer, even though others here have tried to help you stop for a moment and consider the fact that your prospective guest could’ve just been new. Doesn’t mean we’re asking you to give scammers a pass. If you’re not willing to have some people offer a different point of view, and are set in your decision to report this “scammer,” then what is the point of posting your question on a forum?

Well then what are you talking about? How else do you think they’re trying to go outside the system? Telepathy? Read @jaquo response, I don’t have the patience to spell it out any clearer


This has nothing to do with being internet savvy nor age. I have received a booking request and a new user entered her phone number and email address to contact them further if I had any questions. She was early to mid twenties. Obviously if you enter a booking request then you are already booking through the system.

Even though yours was just an inquiry I think your guest thought it would be polite to provide her contact details because she didn’t realize that you would reply to her message within the platform.

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Well, in my opinion I AM right. Otherwise I wouldn’t have written it. I was jokingly apologising for the tone, not the content. To me, your initial post sounded like a paranoid newbie host who is not yet used to the often bizarre messages that potential guests send. It does not look in any way like a potential scam and it’s confusing why you would think so.

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