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

1,103 Replies

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

in
Toronto, Canada
Level 1

I just wanted to add another "Chris" who is renting an apartment at below market rate in Boston. Email communication seemed normal until he sent me the below email today. Thanks for this thread and I hope others are able to see this as well.

 
 

Hello ,

 

The company I work for moved me to the United Kingdom, and unfortunately there is a problem showing you the apartment because I have already left. I haven't managed to rent the apartment before leaving for the United Kingdom because someone said I would rent the apartment and haven't managed to keep the promise. I waited for him, but unfortunately, he could not get the money in time, so the transaction failed, and I had to leave before renting it. Obviously, this experience has brought me huge inconveniences and left me with a bitter taste, so I prefer to use a worldwide property management company.

 

The company I am talking about is called Airbnb (www.airbnb. com) their website is mainly focused on short term rentals, but they also have a NEW service for long term rentals. I used this service last month when I rented my apartment in London, United Kingdom. I can tell you that it was a great experience and the only way I will proceed renting my apartment is by using Airbnb. I think that you have already heard of them, they are well known globally, also they are a company listed at the stock market that values billions in revenue each year. Look at their website as a reference, but please know that you will NOT find my apartment there. I need to initiate the transaction before anything. 

 

Using Airbnb involves three parties: me as the owner, you as a potential tenant, and Airbnb as a responsible third party authorized to handle this transaction. Airbnb will handle everythingfrom paperwork (official documentation) to shipment. Airbnb works the same way as the escrow account on which you place the deposit when you rent an apartment, except that instead of a bank, we use Airbnb. Of course, nobody can take that money until you inspect the condo and sign the lease agreement.

 

I understand that this is not a conventional way to rent a place. Still, please keep in mind that the "reward" for following the Airbnb transaction is a lower monthly rent. Also, I will pay for all the fees that Airbnb will request for using their services. Please note that the Airbnb services are necessary only until you inspect the apartment and sign the lease agreement. After that, you can deposit the monthly payments directly to my bank account or set up a suitable payment method for both of us.

 

My phone number is XXXXXXXXXXplease keep in mind that there is a big time difference between us. I am new at work, and I try to avoid speaking on the phone; if I cannot respond, I will do my best to call you asap.

 

LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE STILL INTERESTED IN THE PROCESS, so I can provide all the detailed steps of the transaction (I am sure that many of the questions you have now, will be answered after I will send you the steps). 

 

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!

Chris

 

PS: Sorry for the long emails, but I need to explain the situation as best as possible

 

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

Level 1

@Jonathan1544 I think I was corresponding with this rental scam today. Chelsea MA on Washington Ave? He sent me pictures of himself and I googled the company that his email address is linked to (not a gmail account). I found their LinkedIn, looked through their pictures and saw the guy he claims to be. Everything seemed to check out.

I was really close to proceeding.  Then, I found this thread and that it's an active scam in Boston. Thanks!!

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

in
Northport, NY
Level 1

I recently was emailing someone regarding a year lease at an apartment. He claimed to have just moved to the UK and would like to proceed with a third party like Airbnb for both of our safety. I even got an email from what seemed like Airbnb with all the contracts. What originally threw me off was the depositing first and last month in an escrow bank account. It asked me to go to a Bitcoin atm with $2000 cash to deposit. Afterwards, I called Airbnb customer support to see if the email address was owned by them. Fun fact: ITS ABSOLUTELY NOT. If you receive an email from airbnb@homes-management.com DO NOT PROCEED. Luckily I caught this before following through. Be careful everyone, some very sad people in this world! 

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

Level 1

Thanks God to the community centre because I have almost got scammed.

 

We found an advertisement at Facebook and we started to get information changed she was saying she only rent out the apartment with Airbnb and she was really stick to the pay in advance for reservation. When we asked for Airbnb listing link she couldn’t provide and avoid to answer it.

@se13 7LH address and name @mariechloeanderson. I assume she or he has stolen this name and ID what she sent forward to me.

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

in
Laguna Beach, CA
Level 1
Email I received. Scam forsure.
 
 
Hello,

Thanks for your interest in renting my apartment, I'm flexible in renting  3- to 36-month lease.
It's a two bedroom with one bathroom apartment, here you can see some pictures: https://myalbum.com/album/dur3vqvmGmRu
Apartment address: 30902 Club House Dr, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

The apartment comes fully furnished and with all the necessary amenities, exactly as you can see in the pictures, with dishwasher, washing machine, air conditioning, TV and internet. The pets are accepted. Also, it's a private parking space available for free.

The rental price per month is $700.00, security deposit is $700.00 so the total cost to move in is $1,400.00.

My name is Elizabeth Breeze and I'm originally from Amsterdam, Netherlands. I have worked in the United States for three years and I bought the apartment during my stay there. I'm the owner of it. Now, I have moved with my work in Madrid, Spain for at least 4 years and I'm interested in renting through Airbnb. I'm looking for a serious and responsible person to care, keep the house clean and see it as his own home. It would be great if you can send me some personal information about you (age, employment, lifestyle, etc)?
 
If you are interested please let me know so I can explain how you can rent my apartment through Airbnb.

Best wishes,
 

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

in
SF, CA
Level 1

Thank you for sharing/posting!

 

I just interacted with someone who used the same exact verbage, except for price and name, for a rental in San Francisco.

 

So messed up.

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

Level 2

Oh my God, she emailed me as well!! But for an apartment in nyc instead. I'm glad I didn't go through with it.

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

Level 1

I've actually sent the link to this post to my scammer haha. Look out for Chloe-Marie Anderson (canderson393@aol.com) I wrote a Reddit post here (https://www.reddit.com/r/AirBnB/comments/q2gh7q/watch_out_for_rental_scams_on_airbnb/). She tried to defraud me of £2000 telling me the exact same information "An agent will greet me" "Give me all your information". Be careful out there folks. message1.PNGmessage2.PNG

 

Re: Rental scam using Airbnb? How should I go forward, if at all?

in
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level 2
Join the conversation