How can Airbnb Hosts handle potential fraud reservations before it gets out of hand?
As long as short-term rental businesses continue to thrive and gain recognition from the public, so are fraud and scam. With the advancing of technology, people can now easily manipulate data online and of course – perceptions of innocent customers.
But the good thing here is businesses have grown and adapted to these episodes of extortion to protect their company and establish a dependable process that customers can use with confidence before and after their stay. And with this, fraudulent incidents have been mitigated before it causes inconvenience and waste of resources.
Where can you start as a host?
There are different ways to check if a certain inquiry is a sham. Checking every site is too much of a hassle on your end so here are some of the essential rules that you can apply to your existing routine and so you can avoid another con game on your online listings.
- Constitute policies for your property.
Your property is an investment and therefore, should be protected at all times. Policies are imposed so that hosts can look after their property. You can create a house manual or house rules that guests should agree before to proceeding to the next step of the booking process.
You can elaborate on your house rules if there is a specific time where noise should be minimized to respect the neighborhood if smoking is permitted, if one can bring an extra guest, and son, and so forth. This is to allow guests to assess if your property fits their needs for their business work or small travel.
If your property allows pets inside, be sure to set up rules (dos and don’ts or charge an extra fee) and heads up your guests about it to avoid any miscommunication along the way.
- Survey every potential guest.
This may sound over-promoted but this rule is true from every angle. Verifying whether the guest has the right information/identity is vital for you to let him in your home. This includes:
- Legal name and address
- Government-issued ID
- Positive reviews from previous hosts
Airbnb has a database (or works with third-party databases) that collects the guest’s information using secure encryption. This is to ensure that all information is safe from malicious malware and viruses developed by hackers who wish to use these data for fraudulent intents.
You can also check the existing reviews made by previous hosts so you will have an idea of what type of guest you are entertaining.
- Never use an alternative payment method.
Any action taken outside the Airbnb platform will be a breach of Terms of Service and Airbnb may not be able to help you properly. That’s why it is essential to utilize Airbnb’s secured payment method is an absolute guarantee that every transaction you make with your guest is protected.
Airbnb is aware that if any dispute happens, you can show proof using the messaging inbox of the platform, payments made using the card on file, and other processes that were made on-site. Both sides will be given a chance to present proofs/shreds of evidence and after that, Airbnb Resolution Team decides the best solution to solve the issue.
You can read more on Airbnb’s payment processes here (please hyperlink “here” with our Airbnb payment method blog post).
- Do not entertain the guest’s inquiry off-site.
The same goes with rule #3, never do transactions (e.g. sending of check-in instructions or other integral information about your property) outside the website or application even if your guest requests it. The moment your guest insists on taking the conversation elsewhere, it is advisable to stop communicating with that guest as long as you haven’t released any information that would him access to your property.
- Always read the reviews.
Whenever a guest checks out from a vacation rental, the host can leave a positive, general, or negative review basing on the guest’s cleanliness, courteousness, and communication. Guests can also review hosts but with different criteria.
You can gauge what type of guest you’re accommodating basing on his reviews from past feedbacks written by hosts. It will be displayed on the guest’s profile so you can take some time reading each review and you can start assessing from there. You can also ask the guest through the app inbox if you have questions regarding his identity or the purpose of why he wants to rent your place.
There are other rules you can check elsewhere and it’s not every day that you will receive a fraudulent inquiry. But when it comes, these rules will be your guide to assess any suspicious actions or you can always seek help from Airbnb Support as they are available 24/7. If you need assistance with screening guests and property management services, you can call Prowess Property Management at 1-888-537-7769 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.