Airbnb E-mail Scam

This summer I will be traveling to Europe for my first time, and decided to use a booking website I have heard so much about: Airbnb. After hearing nothing but good things over and over again, I knew it’d be a good choice. I was especially excited at the opportunity to rent a house with my friends for less than the price of paying for a night in a hotel.

So far we have booked in four different countries, and finally we started looking at our next option: Paris. The weekend we are looking at is booking fast, and with such a large group we knew we had to act soon. That’s why we were so excited when we came across this listing:

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.44.47 AM

The total for the whole weekend would only be $90/person, an offer we didn’t want to pass up. I immediately went to request to book it. I told the host about how we are a group of 8 business students, and we are representing our school based on our academic and leadership achievements. I explained in our message how professional we are, and how passionate about business we happen to be. This was the message I received back:

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.44.28 AM

Now, although I haven’t actually stayed in an Airbnb yet, I had just gone through the process of booking four different ones in the last week and already felt weird. Why e-mail someone when there is messaging on the Airbnb website? Of course, I was curious, and sent her an e-mail using a “burner” e-mail. The e-mail she provided was:

(I am bolding this so that if someone tries to get you to send something to this particular e-mail, know that you shouldn’t!)

After sending them a quick e-mail, this was the response I received:


Thanks for the info’s hope to have a great holiday in Paris. It will be€185 ( EURO ) per night for the full apartment + 350 ( EURO ) security deposit which is fully refundable on the check out date. You will have full use of the property and standard amenities. Linens Included (sheets and towels). Utilities Included. Wi-fi Included. Parking space available.

If you would like to start the booking arrangements I would need the following info from your side:
– Arrival Date:
– Departure Date:
– No of Adults:
– No Children:
– First name:
– Last name:
– Street Address:
– City:
– Zip Code (Post Code) :
– Country:
– Phone Number:
– Scanned Passport/ID:
– Special Requests on arrival:

Like any other transactions on Airbnb, they will handle payment and it will be released to me only after you check in. If everything is ok, please provide the requested information so I can initiate the booking on Airbnb. Awaiting your reply.

Thank you
You may notice how towards the end it seems not so fishy by mentioning that Airbnb takes care of the payments. But how strange is it that they are asking you for your personal information? And a scanned copy of your ID? I immediately cancelled after my request for booking once I got this e-mail, but I was curious about this and research it a bit more.
I eventually found someone online who went the extra step to fill out this information, and they received a phished e-mail from “Airbnb” immediately after. Now, phishing is when someone is able to mask who they are in attempt to get your personal information. The e-mail seems as though it is sent from Airbnb but it’s actually not. All Airbnb transactions are made on their website. NEVER THROUGH WIRE TRANSFERS! The e-mail that this person received is:
Hi Jun Young Jeon,
You’re going to United Kingdom! Please review your trip details below and contact your host, immediately to confirm the details of your arrival.
Thanks for using Airbnb!
2014-09-01 12:14:18 +0000
2014-09-01 12:14:18 +0000Itinerary
Confirmation Code: KU948LT

215 Bourchier St Soho, London W1D 4HZ, United KingdomMap of 212 Bourchier St, Soho, London W1D 4HZ

Large and Comfortable apartment*

Large and Comfortable apartment*
Apartment – Entire home/flat • 10 Guests

Fri, 10 July, 2015

Sun, 12 July, 2015
2015-02-15 18:13:06 +0000

Your Host


Your reservation has been accepted, please send the payment to Airbnb by bank transfer within the next 24 hours. The payment is processed and collected by Airbnb in full. The security of your funds is ensured, and you’ll be protected by policies, such as cancellation policies and the Guest Refund Policy.

Please find our bank details below:

Account Name: INS Airbnb
Bank Name: Alior Bank
Bank Address: Opolska 100, 31-323, Krakow, Poland
IBAN: PL85 2490 0005 0000 4000 8199 4066
Swift Code: ALBPPLPW

For a faster transaction please pay by online bank transfer.
Once you have completed the payment please reply to this e-mail with the receipt of the bank transfer to validate your booking.

Whether the reservation is two days or two months away, we hold the payment until 24 hours after check-in before releasing the funds. This gives both parties time to do a walkthrough upon check-in and make sure that everything is as expected.
The host will receive full payment from Airbnb 24 hours after you check in.
Your payment is automatically covered against internet fraud up to €20,000.

Cancellation Policy
Flexible: Full refund 1 day prior to arrival, except fees

Customer Support
We’re here to help! If you need assistance with your reservation, please e-mail us at Thank you

2014-09-01 12:14:18 +0000

€208 x 2 Nights €416
Host Discount €0
Refundable Security Deposit €400
Airbnb Service Fee €0
Total €816
2014-09-01 12:14:19 +0000

Pay with a wire transfer to a bank, eh?
As you can see, they are posing as Airbnb in hopes that you will send them a money transfer instead of doing the normal process online. I found this especially funny that they were going to attempt this on me after I had explained in my initial e-mail (my introduction) that I am passionate about studying business and ethics.
I am posting this story in the hopes that people will be careful when using Airbnb, and look out for this e-mail address since it has been used before to scam.
Some interesting things to note:
  • The host had no reviews
  • The place was brand new and priced much lower than the surrounding homes, and was much nicer than the ones around it
  • The name was entirely made of symbols
  • Here is a screenshot of the “cozy” place in case you happen to come across it:

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.44.55 AM

I hope this has been informative. Always be sure to trust your gut when it comes to these things, and never communicate with a person away from the Airbnb website.

I would also like to point out the incredible customer service of Airbnb. I reported this listing right away and they were so helpful and kind during the process! Thank you Amy from Ireland! The listing was removed immediately and it seems as though the host will be soon.

Happy traveling friends.

-Andrea DeBrino

2 thoughts on “Airbnb E-mail Scam

  1. anniepletz says:

    I almost booked a similar Airbnb in Hawaii. After several email exchanges I realized it was too good to be true and I contacted Airbnb. They did not get back to me & luckily I found another place to stay. I appreciate your post because it confirms what I thought, that it was a scam. Thanx!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi travelers!
    I just did some researches cause i think the same thing happened to me just yesterday. Now after i can see your posted pictures i’m 100% sure. Our apartment looked nearly the same and it was also much cheaper than any others surrounding with equal quality. Just too god to be true..

    Unfortunately we’ve already paid for the trip and did not include airbnb in our payment.
    Hope we get a chance to do our trip anyways and this guys will get punished for this scam.

    AirBnb customer service is involved now and i hope they can help us out in this case.

    Well thank you for posting this Andrea,

    Happy traveling!

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