A doctor in the US claims a stranger listed her home for rent on Airbnb without her knowledge, and when contacting them about the fraudulent post, they offered to let her book her own property.
Shireen Heidari, a palliative care and family medicine physician at the Stanford Department of Medicine, took her case to Twitter with the hope of resolving the issue, which was met with an overwhelming response.
The Californian doctor said she'd reported the problem to Airbnb, but said on Tuesday "the listing is still active".
"Hi @Airbnb — I would really appreciate you contacting me. Someone has listed my home as their rental, and when I messaged them asking them to take it down, they offered [the] option to book my own home," she wrote on Twitter.
"We reported it, but the listing is still active. This is not ok."
Ms Heidari became aware of the listing after receiving letters addressed to her property's previous owners "about needing to report rental taxes," she revealed.
When she called to inquire about the letters, she was reportedly sent links for the Airbnb listing.
"Grateful they caught it," Ms Heidari wrote, noting it would have been troublesome if people had shown up at her home after making a booking to stay there.
It seemed her public attempt to contact Airbnb on Twitter worked, as a few hours later she revealed the listing had been removed.
Hi @Airbnb - I would really appreciate you contacting me. Someone has listed my home as their rental, and when I messaged them asking them to take it down, they offered option to book my own home. We reported it, but the listing is still active. This is not ok.
— Shireen Heidari, MD (@ShireenNHeidari) March 15, 2022
The doctor said there were "many messages and calls" and after "providing proof of ownership" for her property, the issue was eventually resolved.
"Want to recognise the customer service rep on the phone who stuck with me at 11pm to sort this and called back to let me know it was removed," she said.
Others share similar Airbnb incidents
After reading about Ms Heidari's experience, others admitted they had been through similar incidents.
"Happened to my niece — they booked @Airbnb overseas and the house had been posted fraudulently," someone wrote.
"I booked an Airbnb, paid, showed up, knocked on the door, and the owner had no idea who I was or why I was there. Someone was scamming them like they're scamming you," another person said.
Currently, Airbnb doesn't require hosts to provide proof of ownership to get a listing approved. In fact, the home address provided as part of the verification process does not have to be the same as the property being listed.
Airbnb's website also states "you might be required to confirm your listing’s address", however this is not a requirement for all listings.
In November 2019, the company's CEO, Brian Chesky said Airbnb was making plans to be "100 percent verified" by the end of 2020.
The goal was to make sure "hosts are who they say they are, photos and information are accurate, and the locations meet safety standards", The Verge reported.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted Airbnb for comment.
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