SAN ANTONIO — Criminals are turning to brands like Airbnb to swindle customers out of their money.
Jason Meza with the Better Business Bureau said that, during this time of year, con artists are targeting customers by using fake online ads with what appears to be a sweet deal.
"(An) endless cycle of people coming to us and saying we got scammed," Meza said.
He said a recent case involved a San Antonio resident losing $1,000 after sending a rent and a security deposit to someone posing as a military member stationed overseas. Meza said the address and the listing were fake.
RJ Sontag has been a local Airbnb host for two years. He said the city and the official Airbnb company have tight regulations to make sure hosts are meeting their standards.
"You can see the 'Super Host' badge that we have and you can see our reputation," Sontag said, referencing their listing online. "Maybe newer hosts would not have 'Super Host' status and so many reviews, and I would be afraid to stay at those places."
Meza said there are ways people can protect themselves from falling victim to the con: see the property in person; communicate or pay through the official rental website; and never wire money to someone you don't know.
You can report fraud through BBB's ScamTracker.