I have been trying to find an apartment and found a listing on a popular rental website (not Airbnb). We started e-mailing, and the owner told me that he lives in Spain and will be using Airbnb's services for payment. It didn't seem strange until this last email. What bothers me about this is that it doesn't seem to follow any of Airbnb's practices. It also threw up other rental scam red flags, such as the fact that he wants me to pay before seeing the property, he's asking for my personal information outside the Airbnb platform, and the place doesn't come up on the Airbnb search list. Here is the portion of the most recent e-mail that I find odd, copy/pasted, edited for clarity:
"If you decide to proceed with this transaction, I will need your phone number along with your full name and address where you can be contacted for the keys and the rental contract. Then I will start the process through Airbnb here in Spain, providing them your information. Next you will receive a notification message from them, containing a receipt with all the instructions that you need to follow in order to complete the process and receive the keys and the rental contract.
Regarding the payment, you will get all the necessarily [sic] instructions on the invoice, so you can deposit the money for the first month along with the warranty, into an escrow bank account from AIRBNB. They will hold and insure your money until you check the apartment and decide if you want to rent it or not.
As soon as you will complete the deposit of $1,100 + $1,100 = $2,200 into their bank account, an agent from Airbnb will meet and show you the property. You will be given one day inspection period to take a decision and [in case you are not satisfied with the apartment], next day the total amount will be refunded to you by Airbnb. If you'll like the flat then you can keep the keys, sign the contract, and we will fix a date for the monthly payment, that it has to be done by you directly to my personal bank account."
There's a lot about the whole exchance that seems quite.... off. The more I think about it, the stranger it sounds. There is nothing on Airbnb about "escrow accounts," etc. It just smells terribly fishy, and I want to make certain that my eagerness and need for a place to go doesn't get me ensnared into some scammer's net. So, what are your thoughts on this?
I've encountered another one. Listed on a popular Czech site and the offer disappeared right after we started messaging. He used WeTransfer to send me a link in a text file. He also "lives" abroad, flat is a part of a heritage, and his daughter lived there during studies..blah, blah, blah... And the flat was very under the market price.
Screenshots of the website:
I had the exact same last week. I found an apartment in Ghent, Belgium somewhere on another site. This is the e-mail I received from her after I sent an e-mail to the website where I first found it.
It happens to so many people because none of the people who get unfortunately scammed ever bothered to go to the actual Airbnb site and read about how Airbnb works. If you and they had, you would know that Airbnb doesn't work like that at all, and Airbnb hosts don't ask you for your ID , nor do they send you a big story about why they are renting the place. You don't get a refund after you see the place if you don't like it, if a refund is ever due to a guest it takes about 15 days for it to be refunded, not 12 hours, and you never send money anywhere- when you make a real Airbnb booking, Airbnb charges the credit card you have on file with them. That payment is held by Airbnb and released to the host after the guest checks in.
So while it's terrible that you and others get scammed like this, informing oneself of how Airbnb works would save a lot of people from falling for these scams. And one should never, ever transfer money to some stranger they've spoken to over the internet or Whatsapp. In fact, when you make a booking on Airbnb, hosts and guests communicate via the Airbnb internal messaging system and phone numbers aren't visible to either party until a booking is confirmed.
I think we might have gotten scammed by the same person. I also sent my money to a bank account in Madrid, and the details are almost identical. Did you ever manage to get your money back? I lost 1,288 euros ;.;
I just found an advertisement for an apartment rental. It was a lovely apartment and I was shocked at the amazing rental price. The woman identified herself as Irma would.
I just found an advertisement for an apartment rental. It was a lovely apartment and I was shocked at the amazing rental price. The woman identified herself as Irma Wood. She said she was renting the unit because her daughter only used it for school and moved back to Utah. After telling her about myself and what I was looking for she stated she would rent me the “flat“ which automatically single to me she was from another country. She then told me that since she was in Utah I would need to go through Airbnb and went on to say what a trusted site it is. Another poster in this discussion use the same language when talking about the email she received regarding proceeding with the rental. This is obviously a scammer. I should’ve remembered if it looks too good sounds too good it is too good. I’m trying to find out where to report this. The rental unit was on craigslist. It really is detestable. I am trying to find a place to report this to Airbnb but I see no options anywhere on their website. I will try to attach her email to me.
Reporting it to Airbnb is pointless. It isn't their listing, it's just some scammer who creates a fake look-alike Airbnb ad. So there isn't anything Airbnb can do about it. It would be like someone taking photos of your house, listing it for rent on Craigslist, then when someone who answered the ad suspected it was a scam, expecting that you could do something about the scammers.
And of course these scammers aren't using their real names and the email addresses will be deleted as soon as the scammer knows you're wise to them, or some unsuspecting mark sends them money.
Where to report it is to Craigslist, and also to the cybercrime/fraud division of the police. But screen shot the ad before reporting it, because it will likely disappear.
Thank you! My phone just gave me an alert that it was a scam number. I did take the screenshots and I will report it. Such horrible excuses for human beings. I am so sorry for anyone who has lost money to these beasts. Hopefully we can help others not get taken. I should’ve remembered my own words of wisdom… If it looks too good sounds too good to be true it usually is good to be true.
Hi guys, i just got scammed by an ''eva budniak'' of 1,288 euros. They advertised an apartment in portugal. Gosh hwhyyyyy! i only just realized..
Olá, passei por isso em Portugal.Como o dinheiro não foi depositado em Portugal, o país que recebeu o dinheiro que deverá descobrir onde os golpistas estão. E eles nao o fazem, mesmo todos estando na União Européia.
Passei por isso em 2017. Abri processo é nao deu em nada. No meu caso, depositei o dinheiro para Itália.
Não se preocupe, os portugueses falam inglês em sua maioria.
Hi guys, i just got scammed by an ''eva budniak'' of 1,288 euros. They advertised an apartment in portugal. Gosh hwhyyyyy! i only just realized.. I will need to report this: https://lisbon.craigslist.org/apa/d/charming-one-bedroom-apartment-for-rent/7184562397.html
I paid usin g revolut, but their asking me to contact the police and file a police report before they are able to help. But my portuguese is not good at all... what a situation to be in...