Most of the time when an Airbnb host receives a booking request, it is coming from a guest who is genuinely interested in staying at the property. Unfortunately, there are incidences where hosts receive booking requests that are meant to scam the host. Here are red flags to spot in potential Airbnb guests.
1. Clearly fake name
The first potential red flag that you can spot in a fraudulent account is a profile that seems to have a fake name. A fake name could be something that is meant to be a joke name. Joke names can be anything from ‘John Doe’ to ‘Barack Obama’. Typically names such as this are coming from an unreliable source. Ofcourse you should look into this profile further to discover whether this is a fake profile. It may be just an individual with an unfortunate name. You can check whether this persons name is real by seeing whether or not their personal information has been verified through providing ID such as a drivers license.
2. Odd email address
The second thing to check in a customers profile is their email address. Some red flags you can find here are emails that do not match the name in the profile or joke emails. If someones email has a completely different full name or last name in their profile and their email, this could be a potential red flag that this profile is not who they say they are. Joke emails are similar to the joke names that we discussed in the previous paragraph. If the guest has an email that seems questionable have them verify their email before they proceed with renting your property.
3. Questionable language skills
Red flags for grammar and language can be found in the message that the guest sends to you or in the guests profile. Some guest inquiries come as short broken sentences that do not seem to make much sense. These messages could be scams that are sent to multiple hosts.
4. Provide to much information
Something that can be overlooked as a potential red flag is providing to much information in a guest inquiry. If the guest is getting very personal in their inquiry and seem like they are attempting to guilt trip the host into renting the unit to them, this can be a red flag. A scam guest email may include unnecessary details about where they are traveling from, why they are visiting and what they will do. They may even include a story that is meant to guilt you into accepting their booking request.
5. They do not want to use secure payments
One of the number one red flags of a potential scam is if the guest refuses to use a secure payment method. As a host you can decide what wish to have as a preferred payment method on your account. These methods typically include credit card, debit card, and paypal. Anything beyond these methods can be unreliable. Do not agree to accept cash or wired transfers from guests.
6. Last minute bookings
Typically guests plan out their stays weeks to months in advanced. Therefore, it is wise to watch out for last minute bookings. Last minute bookings are not always a red flag, but guests should provide an explanation as to why they are requesting to book the Airbnb last minute.
7. Lack basic knowledge about your property
Much like the red flag of questionable language skills in a guest inquiry, you have to look out for guests that lack basic knowledge about your property in their messages. If guests send you a message where they have errors in details about your property this could be a sign that this is a scam email. These errors can be as simple as the guest stating the wrong location of the property. Other errors can be wrong number of bedrooms or the wrong type of property.
8. Offer to clean instead of pay
Offering to pay for a stay through services is not an unheard of method for travelers to save money. This method is not typical for Airbnbs. This is an unreliable method not only of payment but also an unreliable form of having your Airbnb cleaned. It is best to always have your Airbnb cleaned by a reliable Airbnb cleaner.