Airbnb is one of those luxuries in life that we take for granted in today’s age of car-sharing and home-sharing and the sharing-economy and things that start with the word sharing but actually involve an exchange of money and people’s actual stuff.
We take it for granted that anywhere we go, we’ll be able to just pay someone to sleep in their home, with all of the comforts that you’d expect from a house rather than a hotel: a couch, a kitchen, freedom from having to awkwardly interact with anyone at all…
So when we attempted to log into our beloved, trusty Airbnb account one day only to find that our password didn’t work and the email on the account had been changed, our entire worlds were rocked. Had we lost our entire Airbnb account?! 5 years worth of reviews?!?! Our “saved” lists?!
Then it hit us: our credit cards are all saved in my account! Cue panic.
Our Airbnb, along with our saved credit card information and – oh my god, didn’t I have to upload a drivers license at some point too?! – a bunch of other personal information was totally vulnerable to the sticky claws of some evil tech genius. My Airbnb was HACKED!
Before we dive into why we no longer recommend Airbnb, let us regale you with the full story of our Airbnb disaster, drama and all.
My Airbnb Account was Hacked??
Is my Airbnb account hacked, or did we drunk-book?
The first hint that something might be amiss was an email from Airbnb… in Chinese.
It was a reminder to rate our last AirBnB stay, I think. This took some deductive reasoning because the entire email was entirely in Chinese. Why did Airbnb think we wanted to receive an email in Chinese?
Before jumping to the conclusion that my account had been hacked, we did a little bit of soul-searching. Was there the tiniest, most remote possibility that we’d somehow booked a trip to China on Airbnb and then, like, forgotten about it?
Drunk Airbnb-ing, much like drunk shopping, is one of those things that feels like a lot of fun in the moment and a whole lot of expensive regret the day after. But neither of us remembered any kind of AirBnB sprees in China. We’d never been to China. We’d never even considered going to China. Nor do either of us speak Chinese. There wasn’t any reason to be receiving emails from Airbnb in Chinese.
When we went to log into my account and figure out why we were suddenly receiving emails in Chinese, we couldn’t log in. Our password didn’t work. Neither did our email. And what’s even more strange, when we entered in our email, AirBnB’s login page would change it to some weird email address that we didn’t recognize.
That’s when it hit us: had our account been hacked?
Contacting Airbnb Customer Service
Our first instinct was to send Airbnb a strongly worded, panicky email. So we mustered up our courage and sent an email like:
“um, excuse me, sorry to bother you, but could you please help us to understand this email? From China? Which we’re not? Ok, thanks!”
Yeah, rightful indignation isn’t exactly our strong suit. I guess we were still half hoping that it was all just some kind of mistake with a reasonable explanation that could be helpfully and quickly sorted out.
How wrong we were.
Shortly after our way-too-polite email, we got an email back from AirBnB like “our automated response system took one look at your pathetic email and deleted it. Try again.” Damn you, sassy auto responders. It was clear we were going to have to take this to the next level: the phone.
Ugh. I hate calling people on the phone. It’s this whole awkward thing where you have to interact with people and it’s just my least favorite.
But you know what? I pulled on my grown-up pants and practiced my phone voice and Googled for a good hour to figure out the right number to call, like a real f***king boss.
Airbnb Customer Service Didn’t Care that My Account was Hacked
So we call Airbnb and politely explain what’s going on. And they’re like, super friendly, but also they can’t do anything to help us at this time. They’ll pass our information onto the correct department, who will get back to us very soon, oh and is there anything else that we needed help with today?
Like … no, just that one thing that you didn’t help with at all, but thanks, I guess.
For some reason, I accepted this response, and we cheerfully hung up the phone thinking things would get resolved shortly. And then we waited.
Day 2: Airbnb Customer Service STILL didn’t care that my account was hacked
After 24 hours passed, I was less confident in Airbnb’s “helping customers who have had their accounts hacked” team.
Did they just not care that my account was in the hands of nefarious Chinese supervillains?!
I willed myself to call Airbnb again (or, more accurately, I got my husband to do it for me #thanksbae).
Our second phone call was much the same as the first: “Sorry, I’m totally incapable of doing absolutely anything to help you or anyone else, but someone on our payroll is probably in charge of this, so I’ll pass your information along in a series of forwarded emails until the correct person magically finds your information and solves all of your problems.”
Uhhhhh …. thanks?
“Um.. excuse me … could you just … excuse us … sorry but my account has been hacked … hello?”
At this point, we’re peeved. Airbnb is giving us the run-around while we politely twiddle our thumbs. Meanwhile, nefarious Chinese supervillains throw sleepovers in fancy Chinese villas using MY Airbnb account.
Thankfully, we’d checked our credit cards and hadn’t noticed any kind of weird activity on them, so at least it seemed like the Chinese supervillains were paying for their schemes on their own dollar (or yen).
Day 3: Why does Airbnb customer service hate me?!
By day 3 of my account being hacked and AirBnB still not doing a thing to help us, I’ve HAD it. What kind of incompetent, inconsiderate POS organization doesn’t give a s**t when their customers – frequent customers for over 5 YEARS, I might add – get their accounts f**king HACKED?!?
We needed a strategy change.
At this point, Ms. Sorrytobotheryou flew out the damn window and was replaced with Ms. Howf**kingdareyou.
Emails hadn’t worked.
Phone calls hadn’t worked.
I don’t have the “may I speak to your manager” haircut, so instead, I did what any enraged millennial would do: I took the fight to Twitter.
@Airbnb 3 days and counting that my account has been hacked and your company hasn’t responded to our requests for assistance. Unnacceptable.
— Practical Wanderlust (@practicalwander)
@AirbnbHelp we’ve called twice, emailed, DMed, still a security breach at @Airbnb exposes our personal information w/ NO response from you!
— Practical Wanderlust (@practicalwander)
After a few pissed off tweets, AirBnB decided that I was actually worth acknowledging. (I guess good luck if you don’t have a Twitter following?!)
I got a canned response asking me to send them the same information I’d already given to 2 different people on the phone, which I let them know, in the huffiest way I could muster via Twitter DM.
Still, I kept getting the same bulls**t response: “I’m so sorry to hear about this, and personally I can’t help you, but someone will definitely help you at some point soon, probably.”
Words cannot describe how fed up we were at this point. It had been 3 days, 2 phone calls, several angry tweets, and a bunch of huffy Twitter DM’s, and still, our hacked Airbnb account was being used by nefarious Chinese supervillains. So we called again. And again. And tweeted. And called.
Anyone know how to get a response from @airbnb or @AirbnbHelp? No responses, no followups, spent an hour on hold. So dissapointed.
— Practical Wanderlust (@practicalwander)
And we kept calling and tweeting …. until someone finally agreed to help us.
Y’all, seriously though. The amount of time it took to get someone on the phone who could read through an instruction manual on un-hacking someone’s account was f***king embarrassing. Get your shit together, Airbnb.
Taking Back my Hacked Airbnb Account, Finally
At long last, we were let into my account. Only it didn’t look like my account at all. It had been totally changed – all of my old reservations were there, but everything else was different.
Honestly, it was a little bit heartbreaking seeing my beloved Airbnb account used like that. Staring into the duck-face, selfie’d eyes of the teenager who had supposedly hacked my account, I felt like she had punched me in the gut.
As the only useful member of AirBnB’s support team walked us through re-claiming my account, we discovered more and more totally foreign information inserted into my account. The perps had changed the email address, phone number, credit card information, and even the language on our Airbnb account.
Remarkably, they hadn’t hacked our Airbnb account and used our credit cards to book trips: they’d added their own. Which makes me think that the purpose of the hacking wasn’t to legitimately use my account for stays, but more likely to build up “authentic” seeming reviews for some other Airbnb host account.
It scares me to think of what kind of scheme our poor Airbnb account may have been a part of. I have no idea if Airbnb flagged the places that our hacked account “stayed” at as suspicious, but I sure hope so.
At this point, though, I’m not sure how much faith I really have in the investigative powers of AirBnB…
Step by step, we removed Chinese phone numbers, weird sketchy email addresses, awkward teenaged selfies, and credit cards from my account. Our helpful Airbnb customer service representative canceled our upcoming trip to Hangzhou for us.
And like … that was kind of it. That was the end of that. …Right?
HELL no. I wasn’t getting off the phone with the only person in the entirety of AirBnB willing to talk to us without making sure that I would never have to do this s**t again.
How to protect your Airbnb account
Our customer service representative couldn’t answer any of our questions about how or why our Airbnb account had been hacked. I’m pretty savvy when it comes to phishing scams, and I don’t recall clicking on any weird emails or links – nor did I find any suspicious emails from AirBnB in my email account when I searched back.
All I found was a regular stream of emails from Airbnb about upcoming trips and past trips, which all seemed perfectly normal. So … how did this happen?
Honestly, we still don’t know. Maybe we did click on an email at some point and it was so well-crafted that we didn’t even notice. I’m skeptical, but maybe.
According to Airbnb, there had been no security breaches lately (or at least, they weren’t admitting any to us). But when I Googled to see if anyone had experienced something similar, we found the all-too-familiar story of a recently hacked AirBnB account. And AirBnB’s response had been just as abysmal.
So we weren’t alone, but that wasn’t super reassuring, either.
How Airbnb Customer Service Handled my Account’s Hacking
During the course of my AirBnB account being hacked and then recovered, AirBnB took no responsibility whatsoever for the hacking event. What’s more, beyond a “doesn’t seem like your credit card was used” and “your driver’s license isn’t kept on file,” there wasn’t a whole lot of concern for the security of my account & our personal information, either.
It was just sort of like “Well, these things happen. It’s probably your fault. Sucks, though!”
Oh, and if you’re wondering how much apology money AirBnB shelled out to make up for the hacking of an account that has been used regularly for over 5 years: the answer is none.
That’s right. Airbnb didn’t give us a single apology credit. Not even an apology discount code. Nothing.
Considering that we regularly use Airbnb for bookings in the several-thousands range (3 weeks here, 2 weeks there, a giant cabin for 10 of our friends, that sort of thing) it was kind of insulting.
In fact, this was the first time that I felt that Airbnb hadn’t done much of anything to demonstrate that they valued my business.
It kind of hurt. Like when an old friend suddenly ignores your texts. What happened to us, AirBnB?
How to prevent your AirBnB account from getting hacked
Even though Airbnb handled our hacking poorly – actually, poorly is the nice way of saying it- we wanted to protect my account from future hacking.
So after much back & forth and dropping of security buzzwords with our increasingly unhelpful AirBnB customer service representative, we were finally set up with 2-factor authentication to hopefully prevent my account from being hacked (again).
What this means is that whenever we log into our AirBnB account from a new or unrecognized device, AirBnB will send us an email or text to make sure it’s us before letting us into the account. In theory, at least. In practice, that doesn’t usually happen, and we end up locked out of our accounts until we call Airbnb customer service for yet another miserable, frustrating series of interactions.
This wasn’t a solution that was offered to us, either. I had to say the words “2-factor authentication” about 5 times, and then explain what I was talking about, before our customer service associate was like “oh yeah, we can do that, I guess.”
I asked if 2-factor authentication was available to all users, and apparently it is … but you can’t enable it yourself. Which is idiotic. But it’s the only solution or suggestion that AirBnB was able to offer us to prevent future hacking of my account, aside from the somewhat obvious tip to not click on any emails from AirBnB if they seem suspicious.
So, dear readers, if you’re concerned about your AirBnB account getting hacked, try calling Airbnb at +1-415-800-5959 or +1-855-424-7262 (toll-free) and ask them to set up 2-factor authentication on your account. But be warned: this will make getting into your account from now on incredibly difficult.
I’m not sure why, but the Airbnb App and the online website don’t seem to communicate very well. Every time I log in, I’m asked for my verification code. Only, nothing is ever sent to my phone for me to enter in. I’ve tried everything I can to fix it, and nothing works. I was even locked out of my account once while staying at an Airbnb, making it impossible to communicate with my host when both the WiFi and cold water were mysteriously not working (terrible Airbnb experience #29769276…).
Calling Airbnb customer service and aggressively tweeting is a whole heck of a lot less convenient than logging into my Airbnb app or account online and sending a message, and two-factor authentication makes it dang near impossible to log into my account.
In fact, I’ve had such difficulty getting back into my account that I got into the habit of creating a new account each time I need to book an Airbnb.
And then, eventually, I just stopped using Airbnb altogether.
Airbnb Complaints & Issues
This wasn’t the first time we’ve had Airbnb complaints. If you stay at enough Airbnbs, eventually you’ll find yourself in need of their help.
We were once kicked out of an Airbnb in the middle of a trip because the landlord had rented out the unit to a full-time tenant.
There was the time an Airbnb host screamed at us on Christmas morning and accused us of ruining his couch (read that story in its entirety).
We’ve shown up to several properties only to find them uninhabited, dirty, disgusting, poorly advertised, or just plain dangerous. One time that we showed up at a booking close to us in Northern California advertised as a “treehouse,” only to immediately turn around and leave because it was actually just a stretcher hanging from a tree, complete with a rock-climbing harness for “safety.”
In France, our Airbnb door was so rotted through that someone broke into it while we were out one day.
In Barcelona, our Airbnb host told us not to answer the door for anyone – and to lie and say we were related in case the police showed up. That was the first time we realized that Airbnbs aren’t always actually legal, and that we needed to do more research before booking an Airbnb – which raised some pretty big ethical travel red flags.
We’ve since discovered that in many destinations, Airbnb is not only entirely illegal and actively fighting against local governments, but it’s destroying local economies and communities, too. Airbnb’s negative effect on local communities is similar to gentrification, pushing out local residents and would-be tenants from their own communities.
Then there are the Airbnb bait & switch scams, the ever-rising “guest fees” which make finding an actually affordable place to stay nearly impossible, and of course, Airbnb’s awful customer service.
My own mother, an Airbnb host who rents out a private room in her home, stopped hosting on Airbnb after someone started running an illegal sex operation out of her basement. Yes, seriously, and yes, I was horrified (she’s fine, and likes to joke that “at least they brought their own mattress!”) Customer service didn’t help her much, either.
After years of making excuses and turning a blind eye to Airbnb’s issues, we’ve had it. We no longer use Airbnb ourselves, nor recommend it to our readers. Instead, we’ve found a handful of other sites that offer similar services – with fewer problems.
The Best Airbnb Competitors for Travelers
- VRBO: Short for “Vacation Rental by Owner,” Airbnb’s primary competitor is our favorite go-to for renting short-term vacation rentals. All of VRBO’s listings are entire homes, and most of them are professionally managed. You’ll find plenty of unique, quirky, beautiful properties in residential areas – but fewer than you would find on Airbnb, since VRBO is a little pickier about their listings (which we deeply appreciate). The site is easy to use and similar to Airbnb: you can search without dates, browse by map, filter results with a ton of specific attributes, and read guest reviews. Cancellation policies are often flexible, and you can contact owners with questions before bookings.
- Turnkey: Turnkey is a vacation management company that works with homeowners to manage their vacation rentals. You’ve probably seen their listings on Airbnb or VRBO, and that’s where we first heard of them: many of our favorite cabin rentals in Lake Tahoe are managed by Turnkey! Because they’re a professional property management company, you can expect good communication, clear expectations and rules, standardized cleaning, and someone to contact for immediate help when you need it. Plus, booking with them directly saves you some listing fees: their Best Price Guarentee promises property rates up to 15% off the same listing on other sites!
- Tentrr: Tentrr lets private landowners share their land, and it’s our go-to for finding unique glamping and camping sites on unique properties. You can rent campsites and bring your own gear, or you can go glamping in a California vineyard or panning for gold in a cabin on a Montana ranch!
- Trusted Housesitters: We’ve used Trusted Housesitters for years as both hosts & guests! Unlike traditional vacation rentals, with Trusted Housesitters you’re actually staying in someone’s home while they’re away and watching their plants, pets, and house. In exchange, your stay is totally free (you and the host both pay a membership fee and submit to vetting through the platform). It’s a really fun way to get a “free” trip complete with animal friends, and as dog parents, it’s WAY cheaper and MUCH less stressful for our pet than boarding.
- PlumGuide: PlumGuide is like, the best of the best of short-term vacation rentals. You know how you can spend ages browsing sub-par listings trying to find the perfect place to stay for a birthday getaway or special trip? That’s what PlumGuide is PERFECT for. They have high expectations and standards and are really picky about the places on their site, so you’ll only find the top 3% of vacation rentals in each destination, all thoroughly vetted (so the hard work is done for you)! Because of the high-quality requirements, their listings tend to be on the pricier end, so this is our go-to when we’re willing to pay more to have a really incredible place to stay, like special occasions or romantic getaways.
Have you ever had a bad experience with Airbnb? Or have you had nothing but excellent experiences with AirBnB? Tell us your story in the comments!
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Our Top Travel Tips & Resources
- Booking Flights: To score flight deals, search on Google Flights or Kayak. Money-saving tips: fly mid-week or on the weekend; fly carry-on only on a budget airline; and take red-eyes or early morning flights.
- Accommodations: We usually stay in budget-friendly vacation rentals, boutique hotels or private rooms in hostels. We use Booking.com to book hotels (we love their flexible cancellation policy) and Hostelworld to book hostels (low deposit, easy change/cancellation, and excellent reviews). For vacation rentals, we prefer to book using VRBO because they've got lower fees and better support than Airbnb, and we're not fans of Airbnb's unethical track record. You can also book vacation rentals on Expedia and Hotels.com. We also use TrustedHousesitters as both hosts (for our home and our fur-child) and travelers!
- Travel Insurance: We always, always, ALWAYS buy travel insurance for international trips, and we STRONGLY suggest it - visit our Travel Insurance Guide to find out why. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing for international travel insurance. SafetyWing is one of the few policies that covers Covid-19, and they have excellent monthly policies that are perfect for Digital Nomads and long term travelers!
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card offers fantastic travel perks like travel insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, which helps protect us on our travels. Learn more here.
- Vaccines & Meds: We use the travel guides on the CDC website to research recommended medications and vaccines for international trips. We always recommend getting every vaccine recommended by the CDC! You can get them at your primary care doctor's office or a walk-in pharmacy.
- Tours: We love booking guided tours, especially food tours and walking tours, to get a local's perspective and a history lesson while sight-seeing! We book our tours using Viator and GetYourGuide.
- Transportation: We use Rome2Rio to figure out how to get from place to place, and book local transportation online using Bookaway wherever we can. When we book a rental car, we use DiscoverCars to compare rental companies and find the best deal.
- Luggage Storage: Whenever we're checking out early or taking advantage of a long layover, we use LuggageHero to safely store our luggage while we're running around. Use the code PRACTICALW for 2 hours of free luggage storage on us.
- VPN Service: A VPN keeps your digital information (like website login details, bank info, etc) safe, even when you're connected to an unsecured network while traveling. Plus, it lets you use Netflix & other streaming sites abroad! We use NordVPN. Use the code WANDERLUSTPROMO when you sign up!
- What to Pack: Here are the travel essentials that we bring on every trip. We also have packing lists for hot weather, cold weather, and many more. Take a look at all of our packing guides!
Kristen Stetson says
Hi! So happy to find your blog here! I also had an awful experience with Airbnb. I made a reservation to stay in Key Largo foe the end of January in November. In the beginning of December I received a text saying my reservation for Hollywood Florida for that night and the next (for $500 a night) was confirmed. I called right away to say this wasn’t me. I cancelled my credit card and my Key Largo reservation, as I was not willing to put my other card in their platform. When I went to send a message to my host to explain why I had cancelled I realized that whoever had hacked my profile had sent disgusting racist messages to my host. We could see on my profile that a device in Florida was logged into my account. Upon further checking I saw that at least 3 of my previous guest from when I was a host had also received terrible messages. (all racist). I immediately reported it to Airbnb customer service. The next morning they called at 7 am, I figured they were straightening it out. They were calling to reprimand me for the messages I didn’t send! I called and emailed every day for days. I could still access my profile, and my host said that she couldn’t hold the dates without another payment method., but she could refund my money. The next day I received a message from Airbnb letting me know that I had been removed from the “Airbnb community” for discrimination. I was horrified. I could no longer communicate with my host, or receive my refund ($700!) They then had the nerve to say that they couldn’t confirm that my profile had been hacked, and it was possible I had left a device logged in and this was the source of the messages. It has been an absolute nightmare!
Lia Garcia says
OMG that’s so messed up! I’m so sorry! I hope you are able to get your money back 🙁
Josephine Tan says
Hey Lia, I stumbled upon your website when I was looking for Airbnb accounts that have been hacked. I logged into my Airbnb with my mobile number and keyed in the code that was sent to my mobile, booked a reservation and paid only to realize that I didn’t receive any email from Airbnb. I did receive a text but it was in Italian. Upon further inspection, we realized that the Airbnb account I logged into with my mobile number was not under my name. We’ve been calling Airbnb for the last few hours trying to get the booking cancelled and credit card number removed from the account ASAP. We can’t remove the credit details as it’s linked to the booking and we can’t cancel the booking at the moment. Airbnb has put us through one desk to another. This is AWFUL. How is it possible that Airbnb can allow something like this to happen.
Lia Garcia says
OMG! Fingers crossed you get everything sorted out!!
patricia womack says
My AIRBNB account was hacked and the bankinf information was changed and my payout was sent to an unauthorized bank account. When I found out, AIRBNB acted like this was a rare occasion. I had to talk to them for HOURS each day for weeks . I finally reported them to the Louisian Attorney General and finnaly I got my payout. Since then my VRBO account has been hacked and I am still fifgting with them!!
they act as if you are lieing !!Believe me I wouldn’t put myself through all this for anything except to get my monry that is owed me!!!
Jessica Dwyer says
I’m currently dealing with an airbnb hacking nightmare. Someone used my information to book a room in Baltimore and then left drug paraphenelia in the room. Depiste me reporting the hack to airbnb days prior, I was later contacted about what waa left in the room and asked “what my response to the host was”. I responded that I had already reported the breach and did not want to be associated with this issue. Two weeks later, I am *again* contacted by someone, the host is asking for even more damages. The end of the email says, “we did receive your update that you did not make the reservation” What “update” do they mean? When I called them weeks ago (before anything was found) and asked them to put a stop to my account?? I have been worried sick about my name being tied to these people and AirBnB does not care
Lia Garcia says
That’s horrible, I’m so sorry 🙁 I would definitely keep trying to contact Airbnb! That’s so messed up.
Clearly its still an issue for them, because I’m having the same problem right now. The hackers changed some stuff but I was able to get back in change it all back and then also the password and I thought I was all good because I created a brand-new password, but now its happened again. So I’m on hold with an expected wait time of 45 minutes to try and get it sorted. Seems like Airbnb still hasn’t dealt with the security issues.
Ian McAllister says
I was interested in your mention of the app.
I used a VPN to disguise my web browsing, so airbnb kept sending me requests to prove that the different IP number was OK by accepting a phone call. I’m deaf so that didn’t work for me.
After 4 days of back and forward communication, someone at airbnb finally told me about the app, which you can download from Google Play. Now, as I travel around South America I don’t have to confirm every login. It’s very convenient.
It seems that it’s not only convenient – it sounds as if it might be unhackable unless someone steals my laptop.
hi – i just called airbnb and asked for this and they said they don’t support 2 factor authentification anymore! are you having the same issue?
Lia Garcia says
WTF?! That’s suuuuuper weird. Our 2-factor authentification is still on as of last month when we were booking a trip. So unless they changed it like, REALLY recently…. ???? That’s so freakin’ weird! Why would they get rid of it?!
I am a host and recently had 2 girls turn up saying they had booked my apartment which we were staying in at the time.. I had no message and it did not show on my calendar , I have also received no money in my account, I have been receiving messages for dates that are booked and blocked off in my calendar.. I have tried for 3 days to get Airbnb to look into this. I found the 2 girls alternative accommodation and not sure what they would have done had we not been here to assist.
I delisted my apartment because I do not want people turning up with no where to stay but it is still showing on the Airbnb site, not sure if it has been cloned that is the only explanation I can think ., hopefully I get some response from Airbnb soon, but lost all faith to stressfull thinking people will be knocking on my door when the place is booked,
Thats nuts!! I really hope you’re able to contact AirBnb! I would totally freak out 😡 ahh!
My Airbnb account got hacked this week and the criminals managed to collect over Euro 1500 rental income that should have come to me :(. Like you i called and reported it to Airbnb immediately and they escalated it to the correct department and sent me an email confirming this action. I am very careful with my login and password details and now i have lost all confidence in the security of Airbnb for my personal data and my rental bookings. Having read your case I don’t expect to see any of the lost rental funds!
Yikes!! That’s terrible. I really hope AirBnB does the right thing and reimburses you!
Gaia Mouse says
Thanks for your blog and humor. I wish I could be as funny as you when I get angry. Instead I’m just a poet. Oh well. Two questions – will you maintain this blog even though you are traveling less now? Do you have other blogs? You write beautifully.
You’re so sweet! Thank you 🙂 I will be maintaining this blog even though we’re travelling less, absolutely. In fact I need to make a post about that, thank you for reminding me! I do not have any other blogs right now, this is bae <3
We are still fighting over the 3,000+ Dlls they fraudulently charged into my account sigh!. Thank you for your support!
Ughhh I’m crossing my fingers for you!
The exact same thing happened to me. Unfortunately I dont use airbnb enough to spot it right away. They did an un autorhized charge to one of my credit cards with fortunately is helping me out. I cant even get into my arbnb account because is in chinese. I cant change password and i cant see my info. I am so pissed off and I dont have the time to make more phone calls. Im glad I came through your article though. I am NEVER using airbnb ever again.
Ugh that’s so frustrating, I’m so sorry to hear that! Try sending them angry tweets, that worked for me (ish)…
Unfortunately for me the hacker DID use my Paypal Attached account in the amount of $400 for a one night stay in Fortaleza. Obviously I’m not in Fortaleza – and I’m now trying to get my $400 back. There was originally some sort of “well you probably clicked it in error” and I was like WHAT? No man. I have never searched for Fortaleza ever. The guy was new at AirBnB and he was awfully nice and tried to be helpful — so there’s that. Let’s see if they come through with a fix.
Ahhh! I’m so sorry to hear that! There shouldn’t even be a question. Take it up with Paypal for SURE to get your money back and keep pressuring AirBnB to fix it and make your account secure!
I found this while googling air bnb account hacked. Im going through the same thing. I only used air bnb once about 3 years ago. Someone got into my account from Brazil and air bnb refuses to close my account without me uploading my id. Sooo frustrating!
That’s so frustrating, Lori! I’m so sick of AirBnB’s aloof attitude towards its customers. It’s definitely my last resort for booking travel accommodations these days. I hope you get your account sorted out!
I cannot login to my account at all because I have a different phone number. This is the only way I can authenticate who I am. I cannot even delete my account because of this. I spent over 2 hours trying to talk to someone at AirBnB but they never answered.
Practical Wanderlust says
Oh goodness! Sorry to hear this! But sadly a long standing problem with Airbnb, hopefully you find a solution!
April | April Everyday says
Oh my gosh I can’t believe that happened! I’ve always heard such amazing things about airbnb customer service like when things go wrong at stays etc, but I thought they’d be a bit better at dealing with account hackings than that! That’s so bad! Though, at least it all got sorted in the end!
Yeah it’s super weird because we’ve had pretty good experiences with them in the past for other issues! I was really taken aback at how they handled this …
Stacey @ One Trip at a Time says
I actually had the very same thing happen to my Airbnb account just a couple of weeks ago too. The email address you show in your photo looks similar (ending in @163.com) and two phone numbers from China on my account (thankfully neither of them confirmed) and my phone number had been removed.
I first thought something was odd when I tried to log in to my account and thought I had forgotten the password (although that would have been odd since I use it all the time) and then I couldn’t get my referral link to work properly for a friend. I then called them and when the phone prompt asked for my phone number to direct my call it kept telling me that no such number was on file and I knew something was up.
By this time I logged in to my account via Facebook instead and when the person answered the phone I had the screen pulled up and it looked like the ones you show with China phone numbers, odd email address, and log in attempts from China and two other cities in the US that I haven’t been to. It was a weird feeling to see all that for sure.
I was able to get everything all reset with the lady on the phone, two factor authentication set up (although in my case she offered it), and I have checked my credit cards and thankfully no odd charges. I hope everything is secure again but I’ll be keeping a closer eye on it from now on for sure.
That’s so crazy! It all makes me think this is a much more common issue than AirBnB is letting on …
It’s so bad to read Airbnb is so neglectful if it comes to hacked accounts. It’s almost a miracle they did not use your creditcard information. It seems all very weird. Good to read about the two step identification. They should definetly allow all members to put this on in their settings.
We totally agree! We definitely got lucky with the credit card thing. I don’t know what kind of hackers stop before stealing someone else’s money (possibly teenagers? That seems to be a good moral line to draw for yourself at age 15 or whatever, right?), but we’re counting our lucky stars for sure.
Christina from Happy to Wander says
Omg what the heck! I didn’t even know AirBNB hacking was a thing. Thank goodness they didn’t use your credit card and stuff but geez, the lack of response from AirBNB is seriously appalling and pretty shocking (cuz I use them all the time). On the bright side, I laughed, cried and everything in between while reading this 😉 At least you were able to eloquently (and hilariously) describe your experience haha. A great warning story for us all!
Thanks Christina! We had no idea it was a thing either, until it happened to us. We’ve heard some suggestions by people far more knowledgeable than we are that they may have gotten our account information – or enough to hack into our accounts – from OTHER data breaches, like at Yahoo or Target. Scary to think what else is vulnerable, right?!
One would think that their purpose was credit card data, but it is scary if they are able to do this, they can get money too… But does seem kind of a lot of effort for getting positive reviews.
But regarding airBnB policies, I remember making my first ever booking for it to be cancelled just two weeks before the trip. at that time they gave me $100 credit for this, so in the end I booked a 5! room apartment for my parents, as they really wanted Sagrada Familia view (which the original apartment had), for less. I’m hearing now they are not so generous in the case of cancellations.
They do seem to be getting less and less generous, in general. I would certainly not say that customer service is one of their strong suits, that’s for sure.
Kat @anaussieinsf says
That’s a bit scary, although a little comforting that at least they offer two-factor. It’s sad that Airbnb didn’t respond better though.
Yeah, we’re glad that we’re protected in the future but sooo disappointed in AirBnB’s response 🙁
Honestly, this isn’t the first horror story I’ve heard from AirBnB. As much as the concept intrigues me, I’m not willing to use their company as is. Thankfully I’ve found equally priced or cheaper accommodations with other sites! I’m deeply sorry this happened to y’all. Hackers suck. Playing one-way phone tag with unresponsive companies sucks. All the time and energy spent fixing your account was probably draining. I’m glad everything is straightened out now!
Thanks Kendal! We’re definitely using it less and less these days … from their abysmal customer service to the shady effect that they seem to be having on rent prices around the world, there are lot of reasons not to use AirBnB these days.
Alessandra bianchini says
Day 4 and still no call from the security office, no support at all and pending guest waiting for details for the trips they booked. We are super host paying thousands of commissions to Airbb and still waiting to have information of our hacked account
Horrifying unprofessional illegal
Lia Garcia says
How frustrating, Alessandra! I hope they get back to you ASAP!
Oh. My. Goodness!! I didn’t even know this could happen and to hear about their response is crazy. I’ve only ever used AirBnB once- booked through someone else- and enjoyed it, but this makes me a little nervous to download my own account. Glad you ultimately got it figured out though!
I mean, to be fair, it’s been 5+ years WITHOUT being hacked, so maybe we’re just unlucky. Or maybe they were targeting well-used accounts. But if you do sign up, make sure you enable 2-factor authentication!
This happened to me today! I started getting a bunch of chinese emails from express@airbnb (?) and then I also started get text messages. Tried to log into my air bnb account and couldn’t identify myself (which I later found out was because, like you, they changed information on my account). I went into the app version which thankfully I was still logged into and somehow got into the ‘my account’ section and saw that there was about 8 different log ons currently happening in china (i’m in Australia). I logged them all out and then changed my password. However, I got super paranoid and decided that screw you Air BnB: I cancelled my whole account. I don’t want to be registered with an organisation that is so vulnerable. Then as I did some googling I stumbled across your blog and am glad I did what I did.
Lia Garcia says
Wow, you got so lucky to catch it early! Quick thinking!