Scammers have come up with a clever way to steal money from Airbnb customers: how to protect yourself
Even if you are not planning a trip soon, you should check your Airbnb account. A new type of fraud has appeared in the service: you can withdraw money from your card or PayPal account as a penalty for canceling a non-refundable reservation that you have not made.
Airbnb confirms that such incidents have occurred, but the official statement says that “these are isolated incidents, and it is not at all that the Airbnb platform was hacked. We have robust systems in place to protect user accounts, and our team of trust and security experts are working hard to continually harden security. ” USA Today.
Airbnb spokesperson Charlie Urbanic reported via email that Airbnb works with victims, “to help them secure their accounts and return the money after their login data was fraudulently obtained in other places, such as phishing emails mail or malware. "
The company claims that user data was entered correctly and this is not an Airbnb hack. The point is that the user, not realizing that he is dealing with fraudsters, has transferred personal data somewhere else.
For example, British communications specialist Alice Chautard fell victim to a hacker who made three non-refundable bookings in Ukraine on her behalf, then canceled them, charged money and deleted the account. According to the woman, it all took "a maximum of 2 minutes." The victim tweeted about it.
Chautard noted that the company has addressed her issue, the incident "was resolved ... and a refund was made."
Rachel Shireen, chief sales speaker in Charlotte, North Carolina, said she uses Airbnb about twice a month. The woman received emails from Airbnb telling them about the costs and changes to an account that was automatically deleted. Her credit card was charged three times, totaling about $ 1500, then her account was deleted and her phone number changed - factors that made it difficult for her to contact Airbnb.
“I went straight to my Airbnb app and tried to contact support to get a message that I must have an account to access their support center,” she said. "The irony is that they deleted my account and then didn't provide support."
As a result, she turned to the company on Twitter and received a letter from customer support. One of the three amounts was reimbursed to her, now the woman insists on the return of all the lost funds.
“I travel a lot around the world and give lectures. I used to love Airbnb, ”she said. - But after that I stopped using it. Not because I was hacked, but because it was very difficult to contact them, I received unsatisfactory answers and did not own the right to the problem. I had a credit card linked to my profile, but what about those who linked debit cards? Their cash is gone. ”
Other victims also complain about the lack of an adequate response from the company. An Airbnb user from New York said she had notified the district attorney’s office in Manhattan.
“Your customer service is not helping,” the woman wrote.
“This is a security issue and you should at least inform the people involved about what you are doing,” wrote a user who said his bank account was damaged in the incident.
Airbnb noted that it has served over 500 million guests and that "negative experiences are extremely rare."
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The company offered users a few tips:
Avoid unauthorized sites. Make sure the address contains “https: //” and there are no additional characters or words in it. The main part of the address should be read as airbnb.com. For example, airbnb-bookings.com or Airbnb1.com are invalid web addresses. In case of doubt, you can always type https://www.airbnb.com directly in your browser to go to the Airbnb website.
Critically study emails. Be wary of those who ask you to click on a link and enter personal information, such as “If you do not click on this link, your Airbnb account will be disabled,” especially if they are not received from a valid airbnb.com email address.
See where you are going. Make sure you stay on the Airbnb secure platform throughout the payment process. The company will never ask you to transfer money, provide credit card information or otherwise pay directly to the owner.
Report problems. Notify the company of suspicious locations, emails or websites by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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