Tackling Fraud, Airbnb Partners with Get Safe Online

  • As holiday fraud rises, Airbnb partners with security experts Get Safe Online to educate community about online safety
  • New data* reveals more Brits than ever before expected to use Airbnb this year
  • Almost 10 million guests from the UK will stay in homes on Airbnb around the world in 2018*

Airbnb has partnered with safety experts Get Safe Online to produce helpful guides for hosts and guests to stay safe while online.  

With holiday fraud on the rise, the guides provide helpful advice on how to use Airbnb safely as well as how to spot online scams that plague the internet, including phishing emails and copycat websites.  

Action Fraud reported earlier this year** that fraudsters stole £6.7 million from holidaymakers in 2017 across flights, accommodation and trip bookings, with the numbers of people reporting travel fraud jumping in the summer months.  

New Airbnb data* released today shows almost 10 million UK guests will have stayed in listings on Airbnb around the world in 2018. With more UK travellers using Airbnb than ever before, it’s never been more important to stay safe online.

As we live and work in an increasingly digital world, we want to make sure our community has the knowledge and expert advice they need to help keep themselves and their hard-earned money safe when booking travel online.

We know fraudulent activity is an issue that affects anyone doing business over the internet, and while we take a number of steps to help keep bad actors off the Airbnb platform, we think it is important to launch these guides, in partnership with Get Safe Online, to further help protect our community.

Nick Shapiro, Global Head of Trust and Risk Management, at Airbnb

In addition to the numerous safeguards Airbnb has in place on its platform to help combat fraud and help protect the community, the guides provide easy to understand expert advice, accredited by leaders in the industry.  

Booking a holiday is something that we all really look forward to each year. It’s also one of the big-ticket items that we splash out on, so it’s really important that holiday makers feel safe doing so. Victims report that losing money to a holiday fraud not only causes them significant financial losses, it also has a substantial emotional impact.

That’s why we are so pleased to be working closely with Airbnb to help their community be as safe as possible when they are booking online. As the guides show, only a few, simple safety steps can make a big difference to keeping you safe and prevent you from getting caught out by fraudsters.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online

Holiday fraud is something Action Fraud receive reports about every day and it remains a real issue for people across the UK. Holidaymakers now have more accommodation options than ever before, but fraudsters have taken advantage of this widening market.

We are fast approaching the Christmas period and this is a time where we see even more people report being a victim of holiday fraud. We urge people to be vigilant when booking accommodation online via websites such as Airbnb and we encourage people to follow Airbnb’s advice to help them avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud

Airbnb advises when guests book their next holiday getaway online to remain vigilant and take a few easy steps to help protect themselves, their payment, and their trip so everything goes off without a hitch.

Airbnb’s top tips for a safe holiday:

Always communicate and pay on Airbnb

Keep yourself, your payment, and your personal information protected by staying on Airbnb’s secure platform throughout the entire process—from communication, to booking and payment. You should never be asked to wire money, provide credit card information or otherwise pay a host directly. If you are, report it to us immediately.

Read the ratings and reviews

Look through feedback from past guests to help find the right fit for you. You’ll see ratings on several quality dimensions, like cleanliness and accuracy, and detailed reviews with authentic feedback about the experience. Guests can only leave a review after they’ve stayed with that specific host, so you know the feedback you’re seeing is based on actual experiences.

Get your questions answered

Airbnb’s secure messaging tool is a safe and easy way for you to ask a potential host any questions you have about their home or experience before you book and without sharing personal contact information.

If you’re not sure – contact us

If you arrive at a home or experience and something’s not quite right, reach out to Airbnb. Customer Service agents are standing by 24/7 in 11 languages to help with things like rebooking assistance and refunds or reimbursements.

Airbnb regularly works with experts to produce helpful guides and hold safety events for the community.  Last year the company participated in National Home Security Month and held a Meet the Experts event with many safety and security organisations, including Get Safe Online.

Every Report Matters – if you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Notes to editors

*Airbnb data taken from bookings made by UK-based guests for between 1 January and 31 December 2018 (as of 15 August 2018).  

**Action Fraud data taken from their April 2018 report.