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I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London
For many, this is what Airbnb has become: a thin sharing-economy veneer hiding a vast slurry of unscrupulous profiteers. In Toronto, they call them “ghost hotels”; in Prague, they are “distributed hotels”; in the industry they are known as “systemised” Airbnb listings. But to Airbnb, they are homes – a chance to stay in “unique, authentic places” on a platform “powered by local hosts”. Airbnb claims that it “promotes people-to-people connection, community and trust”, but, after months of trying, the only people-to-people connection I’ve found involves being lied to and then hung up on by call centre workers in the Philippines.
fail  fraud  london  scam  airbnb  Wired  real-estate  2019  2020 
3 days ago by zzkt
I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London | WIRED UK
The curious tale of a man called Christian, the Catholic church, David Schwimmer’s wife, a secret hotel and an Airbnb scam running riot on the streets of London
airbnb  scam 
5 days ago by shrob
I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London | WIRED UK
"Continental Apartments also lists its properties on other short-term rental sites. The entire building in Battersea appears twice on Booking.com (though one of these listings is no longer active), once on Expedia, and a single apartment is listed on Vrbo. In total, Continental Apartments has 61 properties on Booking.com and dozens on Expedia. Many of the company’s listings on Booking.com and Expedia are the same as those listed on Airbnb. London’s 90-day rule applies across all platforms, but there’s little to stop hosts from listing the same properties multiple times."
fraud  scam  watch-your-step  weird  london 
5 days ago by ssam
I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London • WIRED UK
James Temperton with an in-depth, deeply researched piece:
<p>On Airbnb, it turns out, scams aren’t just the preserve of lone chancers. As the short-term rental goldrush gathers pace, Airbnb empires are being rapidly scaled and monetised, with professional operators creating scores of fake accounts, fake listings and fake reviews to run rings around Airbnb, local law enforcement and the guests who place their trust in the platform. Reviews from guests paint a grim picture of people who have been tricked into staying in accommodation with blocked drains, broken fixtures and fittings, filthy floors, dirty bed linen – or, in some cases, accommodation that they simply did not book.

To squeeze every penny out of these inner-city goldmines, scammers have started outsourcing property management to ill-equipped call centres in the Philippines. The scammers call it “systemising”, a process of grabbing as many apartments as possible, filling them with identikit furniture, taking professional-looking photographs and then using every trick in the book to turn them into lucrative investments. Some of these tricks, though morally dubious, are perfectly legal. But others breach both Airbnb’s policies and local planning laws, while also putting the safety of guests at risk. As Vice found in October 2019, Airbnb is littered with fake and downright dodgy listings. But in London, where Airbnb enforces an annual 90-day limit on all “entire homes” listed on its platform, scammers have made a mockery of lax enforcement both by regulators and Airbnb itself, by turning entire new-build apartment blocks into de facto hotels designed for the short-term rental market. And the problem is far worse than anyone realises.</p>


It's basically a new form of the housing benefit scam, except it's done with wealthier people. And this one - weirdly - also pulls in the Catholic church. Oh, and the artist married to the actor David Schwimmer. It's quite the ride. And yes, Trading Standards, you should do something about it.
fraud  scam  airbnb  london 
5 days ago by charlesarthur
I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that’s taking over London | WIRED UK
My Airbnb host, Robert & Team, started out life on another Airbnb account, currently using the name Leon. Today, Leon claims to be a 30-year-old dancer living in London, but in August 2012 he was a man called Christian living in Munich. “My girlfriend and I stayed in Christian’s room for quite a few weeks,” reads a review from a man called Gary. “Christian was a great host and even though he was staying elsewhere (since the room you stay in was his own), he still came back to check we were OK.” Christian was equally pleased with his choice of guest. “Gary and his girlfriend were wonderful guests,” he wrote. “They took great care of my apartment, have always stayed in good contact with me and looked after my cat very well when I did not have time.” The story of my host, I would come to realise, was also the story of Airbnb. From sharing economy dream to scam economy nightmare. From renting out his own room in Munich, to turning a south London apartment block into a hotel, hiding in plain sight on Airbnb.
airbnb  fail  scam 
5 days ago by dancall
Here Are the Most Common AirBnb Scams Worldwide
At the end of October, former VICE senior staff writer Allie Conti shared her story of a disastrous vacation to Chicago, where she tumbled into a nationwide…
scam  airbnb 
10 days ago by lalabadie
Anatomy of a rental phishing scam 🎣 • jeffreyladish.com
Jeffrey Ladish:
<p>I was recently the (unsuccessful) target of a very well-crafted phishing scam. As part of a housing search a few weeks ago, I was trawling craigslist and zillow for rental opportunities in the SF bay area. I reached out to a beautiful looking rental place to inquire about a tour. Despite my experience as a security professional, I didn’t realize this was a scam until about the third email! Below I will account the story in excessive detail including screenshots…

[After he has established it's a scam:] The phishing team—and given the work involved and the level of polish I bet it was a team—ran a pretty tight operation. Their English was perfect, their emails looked professional, and their phishing site looked identical the original Airbnb site. The email domain “engineers-hibernia-chevron.ca” redirected to “hibernia.ca” to add legitimacy for those who took the extra step of looking up the domain.

I’m even more impressed by their subtle psychological tricks. Each step of the way, they left out information which required me to ask for something if I wanted to proceed. It’s a lot easier to be on your guard when others are asking you for things. When you’re the one doing the asking, it’s even harder to say something when things look strange, because you may already feel like you’re being a burden on their time. For the initial ad, they left out the phone number so I had to ask. After they told me I could look at their airbnb site, I had to ask for a link. Then, after they sent me to search on Airbnb’s site, I had to ask for the link again! That was deliberately planned!

Throughout these interactions, they mentioned there were other people looking, maintaining a plausible sense of urgency. Finally, using Airbnb as the phishing site was clever, because it gave the impression of a trusted middleman. I was genuinely thrown off at first, because I couldn’t figure out how they were planning to steal my financial information. If they had just asked for bank or credit card information early on, their game would have been easy to spot.</p>


Beware. They're getting better. (Though they still need fake sites to do it.)
scam  airbnb  phishing 
10 days ago by charlesarthur
Anatomy of a rental phishing scam 🎣 - jeffreyladish.com
I was recently the (unsuccessful) target of a very well-crafted phishing scam. As part of a housing search a few weeks ago, I was trawling craigslist and zillow for rental opportunities in the SF bay area. I reached out to a beautiful looking rental place to inquire about a tour. Despite my experience as a security professional, I didn’t realize this was a scam until about the third email! Below I will account the story in excessive detail including screenshots.I’m writing this to il...
phishing  scam  rentalscam 
11 days ago by rdump

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