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How to stay safe while using a short-term rental

A recent identity theft case involving an AirBnb rental in Glendale highlights the need to always stay vigilant while occupying a short-term rental.
Masked man entering a room. (Photo: ThinkStock)

PHOENIX — As Arizonans start to make travel plans for the forthcoming holiday season, they may want to take some extra steps before booking a short-term rental on platforms like Airbnb or VRBO.  

The occupant of one Airbnb property in Glendale had their personal information stolen last December, resulting in their bank accounts and credit history getting tampered with. 

Airbnb provides a list of safety guidelines for hosts and tenants that can better ensure their rental experience will be a positive one. 

  1. All financial transactions should be done through the Airbnb platform. The company warns against wiring funds directly to a host. 
  2. Guests should conduct a safety check of the property once they arrive and make sure they know where first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, and emergency exits are located. 
  3. Keep any documents or files containing private information secured and out of view. 
  4. Be cautious when sharing personal information, like your email address, phone number, home address, place of work.
  5. Hosts should consider getting Airbnb's protection insurance in case their property sustains any damage during a stay.
  6. Hosts can ask tenants to complete certain ID verifications before allowing them to book a room. 

Airbnb has a safety team available to respond to concerns from travelers during their stay. 

VRBO also has a live support team available 24/7 to respond to questions and concerns. 

VRBO encourages its users to conduct all host-to-guest communication through its application, which protects against phishing scams and identity theft. 

VRBO says it uses technology to detect fraudulent activity by verifying user accounts to ensure hosts are who they claim to be. The company urges tenants to research host profiles and read their reviews before booking a room.

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