When Matt’s travels brought him to Hollywood for two nights, he chose an Airbnb because it gave him more space to stretch out … and it was cheaper than the hotels. But his stay turned out to be a wild ride from hell, and much more than he bargained for…
The house was listed on Airbnb by a host named Karissa. After he landed, Matt messaged Karissa inside the Airbnb mobile app messenger. Here’s a screenshot of their (very brief) chat:
That’s just the start of when things got weird. Matt was a little suspicious because the host asked him to text instead of using the app. He’s never had someone do that before but thought it was no big deal. Not only did Matt have to call the number provided several times – it wasn’t Karissa who finally picked up – and it wasn’t someone anywhere near Hollywood.
“It was a man’s voice. Another red flag. But ultimately I’d had positive experiences with Airbnb in the past, so I assumed they had done proper background checks on their hosts.”
When he arrived at the house, there was an EVICTION notice on the door (seriously!). So Matt called the host’s number again and he assured Matt that he had paid his rent and there was nothing to worry about. Matt took his word for it, went inside, and unpacked his things.
At exactly 9 am the next morning there was a loud knock on the door. Confused, suspicious, and still half asleep, Matt opens it… to a scene he’ll never forget…
Cops burst inside with their guns drawn. They made him vacate the property, and they didn’t care that he was just a renter on Airbnb staying for a couple nights. They even locked his luggage and car up inside the property! So he was just left there, completely helpless.
What a nightmare. Finally, the building’s manager arrived… hours later… and let Matt in to get his stuff.
“It was horrible. And the final slap in the face was Airbnb only refunded one of the nights. I got zero refund for the first night.”
After this crazy travel disaster, Matt decided he would either pay extra for hotels or only stay in Airbnb’s where he knows the hosts are trustworthy. From now on, he’s asking for a SafetyPIN, the only fast track to trust that lets you see if the person you’re talking to online can be trusted in real life.
For many travelers, booking a place to stay on Airbnb instead of a hotel room can have its perks. It can be cheaper, roomier, and more private. But please don’t let the host’s flashy profile distract you – make sure they are who they say they are – and can be trusted — by always asking for their SafetyPIN.
And if they don’t have one yet, just let them know: It takes only 5 minutes and costs just $1 for them to apply here. And if they give you pushback, maybe they’re hiding something and it’s time to move on.
A SafetyPIN keeps you safer as you rely on the Internet for more and more things. Always ask for a SafetyPIN, because nothing is more important than your personal safety – and nothing is harder to get back than your peace of mind.
Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer: