Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Connecticut, United States
Level 2
2,798 Views

So I live on an isand and I had a request from a local here on the island to rent my room for a week.  The photo looked phony - like something from the show CATFISH where it was a stock photo.  The verification was minor and new.  When i wrote back to ask some questions of the potential guest, their entire request just disappeared from my message board, etc.   How does that happen?  Is that a hacker or something?

22 Replies

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

Sounds like you dodged a bullet, @Debra15.  There are many postings about inappropriate profiles.  Probably this person was contacting a number of hosts and one host reported the profile.  Air BNB jumps on these type of reports fairly quickly.

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

I had a situation where an airBNB host presented a mixed race woman's picture and had a woman's name: Shannon. When I got to the house, he was a middle aged black man. When I asked him why he has a picture of a woman online he said because women wouldnt rent from him if he put a photo of himself online.  I felt uncomfortable and scared for my safety. He had been lying and misrepresenting himself the entire time (even through our online chat before arriving to his house), because he wanted women clientelle. AirBNB has yet to rectify this. Shannon still has an image of a woman as his profile picture. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
La Quinta, CA
Level 10

@Nicole1188  This is interesting.  Could you share what you did?  Did you follow through and stay with him?  Did you report the profile?  Would you mind sharing his URL?

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

I didnt stay there. I waited until he left to make sure that he was off the premises and then i left 10 minutes later. If he lied and lured me in under false pretenses then i wondered what other things was he lying about.  I reported him to an airbnb case manager. It’s not clear to me that they did anything by way of making him disclose his true identity because his account is still active with the same picture: https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/157669785?euid=ae06707c-18fa-ef52-c79d-56dc292d1d4c

 

So to do some kind of dillegence, I submitted a review of his place saying that, “FYI-Shannon is a man.” The review hasnt posted yet. People (but especially women) should know these details so that they can make informed decisions for their safety and self care. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Nicole1188  This kind of blatant deceit is really disturbing. Go to the host's profile, and click on "Report this host", or click on where you see a flag symbol on the profile. The case manager may or may not have done anything about it, but I believe the flagged reports do get assessed.

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

Thanks for the info, Sarah. I just reported it. I hope that airbnb does something about this.

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Nicole1188I checked it out, and it looks like other guests are also making the same comments as you, so hopefully Airbnb does something about it, or at least other potential guests are warned. It seems really dishonest to me. I don't care what gender a host is, but I do care about lying and misrepresentation. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

That’s good to know—that other guests are making the same comments. Gender matters especially to people who are survivors of sexual assualt by male (or female) pertetrators. And so, when hosts lie and misrepresent themselves they take away people’s right to choose, they forgo consent, and they may also trigger people who have experienced some form of sexual and gender based  violence. I think the point i am most passionate about making is that accurate representation is necessary for  informed consent to occur for both guests and hosts. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Lincoln, Canada
Level 10

@Nicole1188Totally agree: guests should know what they're getting. I'm just saying it's doubly disturbing that this person is obviously trying to be deceptive: it's not a misunderstanding, this person chose a picture of a woman to lure women in. Definitely not right and pretty worrying. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

Yes, yes, exactly! 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Eugene, OR
Level 10

@Nicole1188Weird! Glad you protected yourself -- some women would have not listened to their guts and who knows what that lying SOB is capable of. This is an aside -- did you get your money back when you decided not to stay there? Did airbnb back you up there on that point?

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

Thanks! And great question--I got my money back, all but the cleaning fee. The case manager called Shannon to hear his side of the story and Shannon told him that I had in fact stayed there overnight. Since the case manager said he couldnt prove whether or not I stayed airbnb did not refund the cleaning fee. 

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Nicole1188  So he also lied about you staying overnight so he could keep the cleaning fee. This is the kind of host who should be delisted. 

Where did you end up staying that night? I guess you didn't have some kind of receipt from a hotel to prove you didn't stay the night?

Re: Is there such a thing as "CATFISH" profiles/requests to book?

in
Providence, RI
Level 2

Sort of--so he could keep the entire amount. I paid around $145 for an overnight stay at his place in Detroit. Airbnb asked him to refund the money but he refused. And since airbnb couldnt prove that I didnt stay in his place they refunded me all but the $30 cleaning fee. 

 

I was in Detroit to see my young cousin who had just given birth. I decided on an airbnb because I didnt want to inconvience her. I figured her plate was full. When I told her what happened she immediately made room for me to stay with her. So yeah, no receipt from a hotel or anything to prove my case. I wish I had been thinking about that in the moment. I know better, now! 

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