Many Airbnb Listings Playing Host to Money Launderers

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Nov 27, 2017
Money Laundering

Airbnb, the popular hotel-but-not-really-a-hotel service that's been taking the world by storm, has also been serving as a convenient tool to launder illicit cash, according to the Daily Beast. Examining mostly Russian language postings, reporters found a number of listings explicitly asking for account holders willing to help them launder money from stolen credit cards. The scammer requests a booking and makes a payment to their host; while the scammer does not actually stay at the property, the host takes the money anyway and sends back a percent of the profits, thus turning dirty money into clean cash. It's a mechanism similar to buying goods with a stolen card and then selling them for cash. The Daily Beast said that the account holder need not be legitimate either: plenty use hacked accounts for this scheme as well, given that no one has to actually stay at the property for it to work. While Airbnb has sophisticated security measures in place to deter fraudsters, there's obviously enough gaps for scams to wriggle through. 

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