Airbnb continues to downplay mounting reports its users continue to be scammed with reservations they didn’t make while also paying for them.
Reports say several Airbnb account holders have been charged for non-refundable reservations at fake destination homes. There have been some cases where users had payments taken from their bank or Paypal accounts without their knowledge for reservations they didn’t make.
Some accounts have been hacked to make reservations at fake rentals, only to be charged for the amount and the rental accounts be deleted thereafter.
Victimized users also complain of difficulty getting in touch with Airbnb to report their problem.
Users complained how tough it was to contact the Airbnb customer service. hard getting a reply from @AirbnbHelp on Twitter after he was hacked, others slammed the service for their lack of response.
One New York City Airbnb user said she had to notify the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. “Your customer service isn’t helping,” she tweeted.
In many cases, hackers deleted the victim’s Airbnb account and changed their phone numbers, which made it hard for them to gain access to their accounts or to communicate with Airbnb.
One user said her credit card was charged three times and a total of $1,500 stolen. Then her account was deleted and her phone number changed.
“I immediately went to my Airbnb app and tried to contact support to get the message that I have to have an account to access their support center,” she said. “The irony! They deleted my account and then provided no access to support.”
Airbnb explains users’ accounts were accessed with correct account login credentials “compromised elsewhere.”
Airbnb confirms that there have been some occurrences. It pointed out in an email to USA Today that “these are isolated incidents and at no point was the Airbnb platform compromised. We have robust systems in place to protect users’ accounts and our team of trust and safety experts work hard to constantly strengthen our defenses.”
Airbnb claims it’s working with the victims. Company spokesman Charlie Urbanic said Airbnb continues to help victims secure their accounts and provide refunds after their log in details were compromised elsewhere, such as through a phishing email or malware.
Airbnb said users should avoid unauthorized sites. Users must ensure the address contains “https://” and doesn’t contain any odd additional characters or words. The main body of the address should simply read “airbnb.com.”
For instance, “airbnb-bookings.com” and “Airbnb1.com” are all invalid web addresses.
Airbnb also asks users to scrutinize their emails, and to be wary of those that ask to click a link and enter personal information and emails with a sense of urgency, saying, for instance, “Unless you click this link your Airbnb account will be disabled.”