Blanca Valbuena

Golpes Airbnb: O bom demais para ser verdade Craigslist Listing

Tenho vindo a utilizar desde Airbnb 2010 (Uau - 7 anos de constantes viagens) and I love it. I always recommend Airbnb to friends and colleagues. It's just a better way to travel. Airbnb rentals are usually cheaper than a hotel, have way more amenities and help you save money while you travel. I've become an expert at how to pick Airbnb rentals, so I hardly ever have issues now. However, certain cities (Lisbon - I am looking at you) have gotten quite expensive.  So this year, I decided it would be worth it to look at other places for rentals. One of those places was Craigslist. This is where I encountered a scam that was quite sophisticated. It was pretty easy for me to recognize, but this will be a guide so that you too can recognize these types of Airbnb scams and not get tricked. Just to be clear, this is not an Airbnb scam, but a Craigslist scam that takes advantage of those who have not yet used Airbnb. 

How to Recognize Craigslist Airbnb Scams


Craigslist Airbnb Scams are like Nigerian Prince scams, they are so obvious because they look for low hanging fruit

Most people have heard of Airbnb, but not everyone has used it. This is the tactic that scammers are now using on Craigslist to cheat people out of money. They steal images from Airbnb or actual hotels or bnb's, post the on Craigslist as listings and then ask people to pay on "Airbnb" which is actually a clone of the site. Avid Airbnb travelers can tell in seconds that the site is a clone, but a newbie may be fooled and end up losing money. Let's go through the process of recognizing one of these Craigslist Airbnb Scams. 



Compare pricing between Airbnb and Craigslist to avoid Airbnb Scams

The first thing you need to do to avoid Craigslist Airbnb Scams is to see what the average price is on Airbnb


Pricing is too Damn Good

The first tell that the listing we had found on Craigslist was a scam was that it was significantly cheaper than an average listing on Airbnb.  Someone who often travels to a city will have a good idea of what an average monthly and daily price is. However, those who have not are at more risk to fall for a scam. They may have heard that the city was cheap, ridiculously cheap...and could fall for those amazing prices seen on Craigslist. Take a look at the two images above. The average price of an Airbnb monthly rental in Lisbon is $3631. The top three images on the Craigslist screenshot are most likely fakes. Let's look at the first. If you were to click thru, you'd see that the price is listed as €600 ($636 USD). The average nightly price for an Airbnb is $150. That would come out to $1,050 per week, so either at a weekly or monthly pricing, something is fishy here. 


A Craigslist listing that automatically asks you to move off platform is fishy

Craigslist scammers will ask you for your email so there's no proof on Craigslist


They Want to Take the Conversation off of Craigslist Immediately

Craigslist has encrypted emails that keep your info secure. If the listing asks you for your email immediately to communicate, they are most likely trying to get Craigslist out of the situation (no proof on Craigslist email servers). When we emailed the listing, we wanted to see what would happen, so we took the convo online. Here are the next tells on these Craigslist Airbnb scams.


Airbnb scammers will try to get you to talk about yourself

Craigslist Airbnb Scams will make it so you have to vet yourself to make themselves seem more real


The poster will ask you to vet yourself

Note those tiny little lines "I want to know more about the person who will be living in my apartment". That turns the tables on you where you feel like you have to be good enough for them. It's a very smart move. 


If a craigslist listing won't let you see the apartment it probably is a scam

A craigslist scammer won't make the apartment available for viewing


Craigslist Airbnb Scams Will Tell You You can't see the apartment

Note that the Craigslist poster makes it clear that the apartment cannot be seen. This is suspect. If you can't see the apartment, how do you get the keys. Just another sign that something is definitely off


Scammers on Craigslist will tell you that you can make payments on Airbnb

Craigslist scams will tell you to book their apartment via Airbnb

Scammers will create clone sites where they can take payments

Look at the URL for Craiglist sites that claim to be Airbnb

Craigslist Airbnb Scams Will Ask You To Book on Airbnb

This is where things get interesting. This Craigslist vacation rental scammer uses the reputation and validity of Airbnb to jump on its prey. They tell you that you can book through Airbnb. Again, most people have heard of the dashboard, so they are used to this. They will send you a link to the "Airbnb" site with a listing. Again, if you use Airbnb, it's pretty easy to tell the site is fake, but a newbie could easily be fooled. 


How to Prevent Being a Victim of a Craigslist Airbnb Scammer

A simple social media search by name and email can save you lots of grief

Search the person's email on Facebook and Google to see if they are real and if their info pans out

Social Media Searches: In our case, I did a Google Plus, Facebook, and Google search for the scammer's email. Nothing came up. Someone who uses Airbnb as a host will most likely be active on Social Media, so...if you can't find profiles for that email on social, it is quite possibly a scam. Simply put their email on Facebook search & Google . Then check to see if what the message says matches with the information that comes up (if anything does come up). 


Reverse image search on Google is a great tool so you don't get scammed on Craigslist

Do a reverse image search to see if the images come up somewhere else then cross check information

Google Image Search: Take the images for the listing. Run them through Google Image search. If you see your image come up, click it and compare the information there. We ended up finding a Facebook page for an ACTUAL BNB in Lisboa. We took the liberty of messaging them there and letting them know someone had stolen their images and was using them for a scam.


Often times craigslist scams will leave obvious clues on pictures

Look for signs on the images of craigslist airbnb scams to help you figure out its legitimacy

Take a Close Look at the Pictures: A look at the pictures that the scammer provided included one with the name of the BnB the images belonged to. We had already found them through reverse image search, but this confirmed the entire scam.


Always check URL for websites that are taking your money

Check the URL to make sure it matches the Airbnb website

Check URLS: Almost looks legit, right? The URL above is the URL that was sent to me by the scammer. The URL below is the actual Airbnb URL. Let's take a quick look at the sites now. 


What does an Airbnb Clone Scam Website Look Like

The video above is a quick summary and shows what an Airbnb Scam website looks like compared to an actual Airbnb site. I hope you find this article helpful.

If you have not traveled with Airbnb yet, it's wonderful. If you have questions about how to travel on Airbnb, me deixe um comentário, and if you want a credit towards your first Airbnb trip, add me as a friend and use my code here.


As duas guias seguintes alterar o conteúdo abaixo.

Blanca Valbuena

Eu sou o co-fundador da FriendsEat e Socialdraft. Eu tenho uma obsessão doentia com Chardonnay da Borgonha, ASOIAF, e viagens.

Últimas mensagens de Blanca Valbuena (ver todos)


Deixe uma resposta