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Airbnb warns Auburn fans about college basketball championship housing scams

Airbnb today released safety tips for Auburn fans and alumni preparing to head to Minneapolis for the college basketball tournament this week.

Posted: Apr 1, 2019 8:48 AM

Airbnb issued this press release Monday:

Airbnb today released safety tips for Auburn fans and alumni preparing to head to Minneapolis for the college basketball tournament this week.

With Minneapolis hotels reportedly already sold out, travelers can still find safe, affordable options via the Twin Cities Airbnb host community. With most travelers booking on short notice without the benefit of weeks to prepare their trip, Airbnb is prioritizing safety guidance to Twin Cities travelers to ensure secure and extraordinary experiences for both hosts and guests during the tournament.

Foremost among Airbnb’s safety tips for Auburn fans and alumni are warnings against third party scams. During these types of major events, bad actors often attempt try to take advantage of people searching for bargain deals by exploiting the brands of trusted platforms like Airbnb.

For example, Airbnb has recently seen a rise in these bad actors who attempt to entice guests to book on third-party websites that are not a part of Airbnb and claim that the rental is managed by Airbnb or mock up what appears to be an Airbnb page in order to lend credibility. These bad actors may offer deals that seem too good to be true and then ask unsuspecting guests to wire money to book the reservation. In reality, the page is fake, the home does not exist, but by the time the guest realizes this, the money is gone.

Consumers can avoid falling prey to these scams by always communicating and paying on Airbnb. Tiger fans can keep themselves, their payments, and their personal information protected by staying on our secure platform throughout the entire process—from communication, to booking and payment. Airbnb will never ask you to pay for anything outside of our site, through email, or through a third-party booker.

In addition to scam deterrence, Airbnb is offering the following guest safety guidance to all guests with reservations to Minneapolis and Saint Paul over the next week.

Search and Book with Confidence: Guests can get exactly what they’re looking for by taking advantage of our many search filters, like price, home type, and amenities. They should be sure to read the host’s profile and listing or experience description thoroughly—paying special attention to the amenities, house rules or trip requirements, and the cancellation policy.

Read the Ratings and Reviews: Guests can look through feedback from past guests to help find the right fit for them. They’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 they know the feedback they’re seeing is based on actual experiences. Minneapolis also hosted “The Big Game” in February 2018, so Auburn fans and alumni may want to hone in on reviews from that month for a sense of how the potential listing suits guests during similarly large events.

Get Questions Answered: Our secure messaging tool is a safe and easy way to ask a potential host any questions about their home or experience before booking. After booking, guests can also message their hosts to coordinate check-in and stay in touch throughout your trip -- something that will be particularly important in the Twin Cities as fans and alumni descend on the city for the tournament. For example, the host can provide guidance on the right public transportation to get from their listing to the downtown Minneapolis stadium. Additionally, with the games taking place in the evening, guests should be sure to let hosts know if they’re going to be arriving back at the listing on the later side.

Do a Safety Check: Once guests arrive at the home, they should make sure to know where all relevant emergency equipment and safety information is located. If it’s not clear where something like the first aid kit or fire extinguisher is, guests should not hesitate to ask their host. It’s always better to be prepared.

If Anything Isn’t Right, Reach Out: If you arrive at a home and something’s not quite right, reach out to us. We’re standing by 24/7 in 11 languages to help with things like rebooking assistance and refunds or reimbursements. Our team is aware of the big stretch the Twin Cities has coming and is prepared to support.

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