Threatening message from Airbnb regarding verification

Hi everyone,

I just received this rather disturbing email from Airbnb. Note that the Aadhar card is an Govt of India identity card and is somewhat controversial. I personally have been avoiding getting one for some time. For some reason these people now want me to get one, though they don’t say why. And don’t miss the threat. And the “Sent with :heart:” part. Why doesn’t Airbnb just call itself the Ministry of Love and get it over with?

Airbnb []
Hi Faheem,
We want you to be able to welcome travelers and host with confidence. To continue building a trusted global community, we’ve developed a more detailed
personal-verification process exclusively for hosts in India.
You have 10 weeks to complete Airbnb’s host verification process through IDfy. If you haven’t submitted the required verification information to IDfy by
May 15th, 2017, your Airbnb listing(s) will be deactivated.
Complete host verification []
Our partner, IDfy, is a leading provider of personal-verification services in India. In order to verify your account and remain an active host on
Airbnb, you’ll need to provide your name, date of birth, Aadhaar number, Aadhaar address, and father’s name.
Please take a few minutes to complete and submit your host verification. Once your account is verified, you will receive a confirmation email from IDfy
within one to two weeks of approval.
Want to learn more about the host verification process? Visit our help center [] for more information.
Thank you,
The Airbnb Team
Sent with :heart: from
Airbnb Ireland
The Watermarque Building, South Lotts Road,
Ringsend, Dublin 4, VAT:9827384L

I wouldn’t find that threatening… They just want you to immediately comply with some government edict. I would just do it and not worry at all.

Seems as though you have no choice.

I’m missing the govt edict. Where is it?

The process is cited as being “exclusively for hosts in India.” That would appear to be some sort of government mandate?

I really doubt Air has the time or wants to spend the money to make hosts verify of their own accord. If so, then we would all be seeing this email, which, by the way, is sent with (heart).

I’m still bugged by a multi billion dollar company writing texts and signing them off like a seventh grader. :laughing:


I think the “Lower your rates” email is an automated send when some algorhythm compares listings in a certain area. I’ve gotten the “Increase your bookings by 129% this month by lowering your rate” email when it was the next to the last day of that month and had been booked solid for the entire month!!!


The Aadhaar number sounds sort of like a USA social security number. Probably 99.9% of USA citizens have one. A way for the government to keep track of you. The ‘father’s name’ is a little weird though. Usually it’s a ‘secret question’. And what the hell is IDfy? Anyway, once Airbnb decides something like this, for whatever reason, I would not expect them to back down easily. Could be a deal with the government? If you are not going to get a number it might be time to look into another listing site…

@faheem it looks like your choices are comply or don’t and stop listing … regretfully

1 Like

I will not send anything on mail or click there

Can it be a scam mail?


I am not really an expert on India, but this seems to be a no-brainer. I understand the Govt of India recently withdrew major banknotes from circulation in order to crack down on tax avoidance. Now they are asking Indian hosts to register their Airbnb home. To me, this obviously is another measure taken for exactly the same reason - stop tax dodging.

Hi everyone,

Just an update about this. I apologise for the somewhat hysterical tone of my earlier message (the first in the thread). I initially thought this message might be a (very good) phishing attempt. So I contacted Airbnb via Twitter, and they confirmed this was genuine. As I mentioned in my earlier message, I’ve been avoiding getting the Aadhar card for some time. So I freaked out a bit. I also think I received the confirmation from Airbnb Twitter in the early hours of the morning, when sometimes life sometimes seems darker - the Long Dark Early Morning of the Soul, as it were.

One reason I thought it might be a phishing attempt was because of the weird focus on the Aadhar card, which is just one of a number of different possible IDs. The other important ones are the PAN card and, of course, the passport. As it turns out, the email was just badly written, and in fact, those other options are workable. When I logged into the IDfy site a message came up along those lines, and also Airbnb Twitter confirmed it.

Anyway, I went into the site, answered some questions about my PAN card, uploaded an image of it, and a bit later, I got a message from IDfy asking for address proof. So I uploaded my passport images (Indian passports contain an address, which is arguably a misfeature). Hopefully that will satisfy them. In any case, it doesn’t look like anyone will be forcing me to get an Aadhar card.

I should perhaps explain that my aversion to the Aadhar card is not really reasoned. It’s an instinctual thing, based on the feeling that a national identity card is an inherently dodgy thing. And the govt has been pushing it quite hard. In fact the Supreme Court ruled that citizens couldn’t be forced to get one. Also, a while back, someone from the BMC (the local municipality) turned up and told us we all needed to get an Aadhar card. I replied that no, we didn’t. And told him to go away. In India we consider the government to be the enemy. We find it saves time.

Also, Airbnb Twitter was quite helpful. I guess as long as you’re not trying to stop them from taking away ones money to give it back to the guests, they’re good.

Oh, and one more thing. A number of people seem to think that this has something to do with the Indian govt requiring it of Airbnb so they can check if Airbnb hosts are paying their taxes or something. I saw no evidence of this. IDfy, as it says on its site, does background verification. It’s a private company - nothing to do with the govt, and quite young. Just past the startup stage, perhaps. And I think Airbnb is partnering with them because they’re trying to make sure their hosts are actually who they say they are. Maybe, given that India is India, they’ve had some problems. Anyway, that’s my guess.

Oh, and the Indian govt has cut some kind of deal with Airbnb so they pay taxes to the Indian govt. But I have no idea how it works. I don’t think they are tracking the contribution of individuals to the total tax, as far as I can tell, so how can anyone check it is correct?

1 Like

So there is nowhere in India to find out if you are supposed to collect lodging tax similar to how a hotel would? Or hotels in India don’t pay tax?

Hi @cabinhost,

Maybe this should be a separate topic, but here goes…

As I mentioned, Airbnb has some kind of a deal with the Indian Govt., but they are not giving much by way of details publicly. Here is what has

Guests who book Airbnb listings that are located in the Country of India will pay the following taxes as part of their reservation:

India Service Tax: 15% of the listing price including any cleaning fee, less a 40% abatement. Airbnb is required, as an aggregator, to collect and remit service tax on behalf of Airbnb hosts.For detailed information, visit India’s government website.

The link just points to Apparently one is supposed to figure out the details for oneself.

However, if I try to make a reservation for my listing, I see (under Occupancy Taxes):

Swachh Bharat Cess (India) Krishi Kalyan Cess (India) Aggregator Service Tax (India)

And “Learn More” links to

Swachh Bharat Cess Krishi Kalyan Cess are both 0.5%. Service Tax is 14%. Making a total of 15%. I don’t understand the part about abatement.

Apparently the way the Indian Govt is handling this is to have Airbnb pay the Service Tax, which is a standard thing in India for services, as the name suggests. And this is misleadingly called the Aggregator Service Tax, though it doesn’t really have anything to with being an Aggregator. Essentially Airbnb is paying the service tax on the behalf of the host, and presumably if Airbnb wasn’t in the loop, the host would have to pay it himself or herself. And presumably that absolves the host of the requirement to pay the full 15% himself or herself. Hey, I’m saving money by using Airbnb. :wink:

See, for example,, though this isn’t a particularly good explanation.

I probably should confirm this with an accountant.

It’s worth noting that it’s comparatively rare to actually pay this, or the similar VAT tax (for goods/commodities) in India. Most transactions are done in cash. I went looking just now for an example of service tax in my bills, but it took me a while to find one. I found it in my internet bill, which is supplied by MTNL, which happens to be government owned. And the breakdown there is exactly the same.

1 Like

Hi Faheem,

I got that same email from Idfy today mentioning that I need to submit documents for me to retain my Airbnb listing. The last date is apparently April 30.

Is that a genuine email as Airbnb has never sent me a mail regarding it? And the threatening tone is something that I fail to understand.

Best, Ram

1 Like

Hi Ram,

Are you an Indian Airbnb host?

Yes, the email is most likely genuine. I checked with Airbnb directly, and they verified that it is genuine. I encourage you to also do so if you have doubts. That’s really the simplest thing to do. I find contacting them via Twitter works as well as anything. You want to send a direct message to @AirbnbHelp.

1 Like

Thanks Faheem. Yes, I host in India. Will message Airbnb too.

1 Like

No authority neither in India not some entity outside India can compel an Indian resident to produce Aadhar as “Identity proof”. Why? Because Aadhar is NOT an identity proof . It is some misinterpretation of the identity verification.
Any government issued identity proof should be sufficient .

" Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

[Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (dissenting)]

Louis D. Brandeis

I suggest that you ask AirBnB if it’s a government requirement. It may be yet another way to combat fraud.

If you don’t follow local hospitality industry news, you should. Most areas of the world have publications and web sites aimed at hotels and resorts, and they carry news about Air and other booking sites. Even though their readers may not be involved with Air, they want to be informed of competition in the travel sector. I found that joining my local tourist bureau got me all kinds of news and contacts, as well as guest referrals.

This thread is over 5 years old. I’d guess faheem has worked it out by now.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

1 Like

Great quote. Thank you.

1 Like