Booking an Airbnb rental for your next vacation can be an exciting experience, but it can also come with risks if you aren’t careful. Guest scams on Airbnb are an unfortunate reality that all hosts need to be aware of.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use Airbnb’s messaging system, read reviews carefully, and avoid rentals that seem too good to be true to avoid being scammed by an Airbnb guest.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the most common types of Airbnb scams pulled by guests, real-life examples of these rental scams, tips for how hosts can avoid being scammed, and steps to take if you find yourself the victim of an Airbnb rental scam.

Common Types of Airbnb Scams by Guests

Instant Booking Scams

One of the common types of scams that guests may attempt on Airbnb is the instant booking scam. In this scam, guests make a booking without properly reviewing the listing or the host’s rules. They may try to take advantage of the host’s leniency or lack of attention to detail.

To avoid falling victim to this scam, hosts should carefully review guests’ profiles, read their reviews from previous hosts, and communicate with them before accepting a booking.

Fake Payment Scams

Another type of scam that hosts need to be aware of is the fake payment scam. In this scenario, guests may attempt to make a booking using stolen credit card information or fake payment details. Once the booking is confirmed, the scammer may cancel the reservation or use the accommodation without paying for it.

To protect against this, Airbnb has implemented secure payment systems and verification processes. Hosts should also be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to Airbnb.

Chargeback Scams

Chargeback scams, although less common, can still pose a risk for hosts on Airbnb. In these scams, guests may fraudulently dispute a charge with their credit card company after their stay. They may claim that the accommodation was not as described or that they never received the services they paid for.

To minimize the risk of chargeback scams, hosts should maintain clear communication with guests, keep records of all interactions, and provide detailed descriptions and photos of the property.

Damage Scams

Damage scams involve guests intentionally causing damage to the property and then attempting to hold the host responsible or extort money for repairs. To protect against this, hosts should thoroughly document the condition of their property before and after each stay with photos and detailed descriptions.

Additionally, hosts can require a security deposit or invest in insurance coverage to mitigate potential financial losses.

False Review Scams

False review scams are another type of scam that hosts should be aware of. In these scams, guests may threaten to leave a negative review or provide false information in exchange for a refund or other compensation.

Airbnb has implemented policies to prevent and address false reviews, but hosts can protect themselves by providing excellent service and documenting any issues or disputes that may arise during a guest’s stay.

Remember, while the majority of guests on Airbnb are genuine and trustworthy, it is important for hosts to be aware of these common scams and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their properties.

By staying informed and implementing preventative measures, hosts can minimize the risk of falling victim to scams.

Real-Life Examples of Airbnb Guest Scams

Fake Credit Card Chargeback in Miami

One unfortunate example of an Airbnb guest scam occurred in Miami when a host received a chargeback request from a guest claiming that their credit card had been fraudulently used to book the accommodation.

The host, who had followed all the necessary safety measures and verified the guest’s identity, was shocked to find out that the chargeback request was successful, resulting in the loss of their rental income.

This incident emphasizes the importance of thoroughly vetting potential guests and ensuring that their payment information matches the details provided. Hosts should also consider using platforms that offer additional payment security measures to protect themselves from such scams.

Guest Throws House Party and Trashes Home in Calgary

In another disturbing case of Airbnb guest scams, a host in Calgary experienced significant property damage when their guest threw an unauthorized house party. The guest, who had initially seemed responsible and trustworthy, violated the rental agreement by inviting a large number of people to the property without the host’s consent.

To prevent such incidents, hosts can set clear rules and guidelines regarding parties and events, and communicate them to guests before their arrival. It is also advisable to establish a good rapport with guests through effective communication and regular check-ins to ensure that they are respectful of the property.

Guest Breaks Multiple Items and Denies Wrongdoing in Nashville

In Nashville, an Airbnb host fell victim to a guest scam involving deliberate property damage. The guest, upon checking out, claimed that various items were already broken upon their arrival and denied any responsibility for the damages.

The host, who had taken pictures and documented the condition of the property before the guest’s arrival, found it challenging to prove their case against the dishonest guest.

To avoid similar situations, hosts should consider implementing security deposits or insurance policies that protect them against property damage caused by guests. Additionally, hosts can provide detailed inventories and photographs of the property’s contents to have a record of their condition prior to the guest’s stay.

These real-life examples of Airbnb guest scams highlight the importance of being cautious and proactive as a host. By taking necessary precautions, such as verifying guest identities, setting clear rules, and documenting the condition of the property, hosts can minimize the risk of falling victim to scams and protect their investments.

Tips to Avoid Being Scammed as an Airbnb Host

As an Airbnb host, it’s important to be aware of potential scams that could occur with guests. By taking certain precautions, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to fraudulent activities. Here are some helpful tips to avoid being scammed as an Airbnb host:

Carefully Review Guest Profiles and Previous Reviews

One of the first steps you can take to protect yourself is to carefully review the profiles and previous reviews of potential guests. Look for positive feedback from other hosts and ensure that the guest’s profile is complete and verified.

This will give you a better idea of who you are dealing with and reduce the chances of encountering a scam.

Turn on ID Verification for All Guests

To further enhance your safety as a host, it is recommended to turn on ID verification for all guests. This feature allows guests to provide a form of identification, such as a government-issued ID or passport, which Airbnb verifies.

This extra layer of security helps ensure that the guests are who they claim to be.

Communicate Only Through Airbnb Messaging

When communicating with potential guests, it’s crucial to use Airbnb’s messaging system rather than personal email or phone calls. This not only keeps your conversations within the platform, but also provides a record of all interactions in case of any disputes or issues that may arise later.

It’s important to remain cautious and not share personal information outside of the Airbnb platform.

Outline House Rules and Consequences Clearly

To avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts, it’s essential to clearly outline your house rules and consequences. Be specific about what is and isn’t allowed in your property, including any additional charges for violating the rules.

By setting clear expectations from the beginning, you can discourage potential scammers from attempting to take advantage of your hospitality.

Require Security Deposit for All Bookings

Requiring a security deposit for all bookings is another effective way to protect yourself as an Airbnb host. This deposit acts as a form of insurance against any damages that may occur during the guest’s stay.

Make sure to clearly communicate the terms and conditions regarding the security deposit, including how it will be returned or used in the event of any damage.

By implementing these tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of being scammed as an Airbnb host. Remember, being cautious and proactive is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable hosting experience.

What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed by an Airbnb Guest

Discovering that you’ve been scammed by an Airbnb guest can be a disheartening experience. However, it’s important not to panic and take immediate action to resolve the situation. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation:

Report the Guest Immediately

As soon as you suspect that you’ve been scammed by an Airbnb guest, reach out to Airbnb support. They have a dedicated team to handle such situations, and they can guide you through the process of reporting the incident.

Remember to provide them with all the relevant details and any evidence you may have.

Collect Documentation and Evidence

Gather all the documentation and evidence related to the scam. This can include communication with the guest, receipts, photographs, or any other relevant information. It’s crucial to have proper documentation to support your claim and increase your chances of a successful resolution.

File an Airbnb Resolution Request

File a resolution request with Airbnb to report the scam and request compensation for any damages or losses incurred. The resolution request is a formal process that allows you to present your case to Airbnb and seek a resolution.

Be sure to provide all the necessary details and submit any supporting evidence you have collected.

Leave an Honest Review About the Guest

After the resolution process is complete, it’s important to leave an honest review about the guest. This will help other hosts be aware of the guest’s behavior and make informed decisions when considering bookings. Remember to stick to the facts and provide a fair assessment of your experience.

Report Fraudulent Activity to Authorities

If you believe that the scam involved fraudulent activity or if you have suffered significant financial loss, it’s essential to report the incident to the relevant authorities. Contact your local law enforcement agency or report the incident to the appropriate online fraud reporting platform.

Remember, it’s crucial to act quickly and follow the appropriate steps to increase your chances of resolving the situation successfully. By reporting the guest, collecting evidence, filing a resolution request, leaving an honest review, and reporting fraudulent activity, you can take proactive measures to protect yourself and help prevent similar scams in the future.


While most Airbnb guests are respectful, scams do occur, and hosts need to be vigilant. By carefully screening all booking requests, communicating only through the Airbnb platform, and taking preventative measures like collecting security deposits, you can avoid many bad guest situations.

If you ever do find yourself the victim of an Airbnb scam, make sure to report the guest immediately, document everything, and file a resolution request. While dealing with scams can be stressful, Airbnb provides resources to help make things right in most cases.

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