Scam Airbnb websites: Be aware when looking for accommodation


  • Internet
  • Sunday, 09 Aug 2020

Police in Germany recently warned of fradulent websites that look like Airbnb and offer holiday apartments at unbeatable rates. — Friso Gentsch/dpa

You've found a holiday apartment in a central location at a great price. But what looks like an unbeatable offer could be an attempt at fraud. Fraudulent websites that look like Airbnb have been springing up, warn German police, but there are ways to unmask them.

An example: A woman posted an apartment search in eBay's classified ads and received an email with what looked like an amazing offer. She was asked to register on a fake website based on the Airbnb rental marketplace. After registering, she was asked to pay a deposit. Upon closer inspection, the woman suspected fraud and informed the police.

What's the expert advice? When being redirected to a website, always check the address bar in the browser to make sure it is correct. This is not always immediately apparent, especially on mobile devices.

If you've already logged onto the fake website with your real Airbnb log-in data, the best thing to do is contact Airbnb support immediately and change your personal details.

Positive reviews from supposedly satisfied customers are another trick when it comes to faking the authenticity of such websites.

A reverse image search on Google can help unmask a fake profile or offer: In this case, photos of the apartment offer were found on other websites around the Internet.

The police have one basic piece of advice: Never transfer money to someone you don't know. If you have fallen for the scam, you can still try to inform your bank and stop the payment. However, after even a few hours, it might already be too late to get your money. – dpa

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