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Airbnb and IAFC Join Forces to Fight Scams

With the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, a significant number of travelers are expected to book accommodation through Airbnb to stay close to competition sites. In line with its commitment to making the 2024 Paris Games a success, Airbnb is partnering with the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI) to combat scams and ensure travelers can book and enjoy their stays with peace of mind.

A recent Opinionway study reveals that nearly half (48%) of French people have been scammed or know someone who has been, with an average loss of $2,700. As scams become increasingly sophisticated in the digital age, fraudsters use fake websites, texts, emails, and social media to deceive travelers into believing they are booking with legitimate companies.

The study also highlights certain behaviors that increase the risk of being scammed when booking accommodation:

  • One-third of French people might communicate or book outside a trusted platform to save money, especially those under 35.
  • Almost half (48%) are willing to pay by bank transfer, a payment method that does not protect their money in the event of fraud.
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) would use social networks to pay or book holiday accommodation, where scammers can lure victims with too-good-to-be-true offers.

To ensure the safety of its community as Paris 2024 approaches, Airbnb has implemented several measures to protect bookings made through its platform, including secure payment methods. It is crucial for travelers to stay on the platform throughout the booking process and avoid payments and communications outside Airbnb. Users are also encouraged to report suspicious websites or phishing emails for investigation. In the past 12 months, Airbnb’s team has detected and processed nearly 2,500 phishing sites worldwide.

In partnership with IAFCI, Airbnb offers the following tips to avoid scams and fraud, available on the Airbnb website and the event information page:

  1. Stay on Airbnb for Payment and Communication: Any request to communicate or pay outside the platform should be reported. Airbnb holds all payments made on the platform for up to 24 hours after arrival, providing protection through AirCover against many eligible incidents.
  2. Avoid Clicking on Links in Unexpected Emails or Text Messages: Scammers often use links to fake sites to steal personal or financial information. Do not respond or click on links if you have any doubts about the message.
  3. Protect Your Passwords: Use strong passwords for online accounts and change them immediately if notified of a suspicious login attempt. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security.
  4. Be Wary of Cheap Offers and Pressure to Pay Quickly: Compare prices with similar options, and remember that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use this tactic, especially on social networks or when pressuring for quick action.
  5. Check the URL Before Paying: Ensure you are on the official Airbnb website by typing airbnb.com directly into your browser.
  6. Use a Credit Card to Pay: Credit cards offer better consumer protection, making it easier to dispute charges if scammed. Avoid paying by bank transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.
  7. Check Listings and Reviews: Read reviews to see what other travelers have said about a host or listing. New listings may have few or no reviews, but those with more reviews generally provide better information.
  8. Look for the “Verified Listing” Badge: A verified listing on Airbnb means the property has been confirmed to exist, the address is accurate, and the host has access to it. Currently, 2 million listings in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, and Australia are verified.
  9. Report Concerns Immediately: If you have any doubts about a message or listing, or if you have paid off-site, contact Airbnb’s 24/7 help center immediately.

By following these guidelines and utilizing the resources provided by Airbnb and IAFCI, travelers can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience during the Paris 2024 Games.

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