Want make a room reservation but got an Airbnb host asking for phone number? Traveling with Airbnb can be a mixed bag, and you might think twice before providing your phone number to any Airbnb host.
In many cases however, you can’t get an Airbnb without phone number. An Airbnb host asking for phone number typically does so because they are legally required to in their respective countries, and without providing a phone number some hosts might also be reluctant to host you if they know it will difficult to communicate with you.
Can Airbnb hosts ask for phone numbers? Is it safe to reveal your phone number to Airbnb hosts? What about Airbnb hidden phone numbers, or does Airbnb hide phone numbers? Read on to find out why you should not give out YOUR number, even if your Airbnb host needs it from you.
Airbnb host asking for phone number: Is it legal?
Airbnb recommends that guests and hosts exchange contact information after booking has been made to better facilitate any future communication.
On the Airbnb Help Centre, the company also recommends guests to keep themselves safe by making sure that all communication, booking and payment made to Airbnb hosts are done via Airbnb’s secure platform.
While Airbnb has since introduced anonymised emails on their platform to build trust and protect guests against scammers, phone numbers haven’t really been addressed. An Airbnb host asking for phone number is not only legal, but necessary in some countries.
In Japan for example, the country’s new law regarding vacation rentals requires all Airbnb hosts to gather critical information like phone numbers and passport numbers in order to confirm any reservation made for an Airbnb based in the country.
All these means that Airbnb host are by and large asking for cell phone numbers legally. But is it safe to reveal your personal phone number to someone you have not met before, and likely will never meet?
Is it safe to share your phone number with Airbnb hosts?
So Airbnb hosts asking for your phone number may be legal. But how safe is doing so? Here’s 5 reasons why you should not share your real phone number with Airbnb hosts:
Reason 1: Not all Airbnb hosts are verified
Let this sink in for a while – it only takes a person just 10 minutes to become an Airbnb host. especially since you only really need to provide an email address and phone number to become one.
If you do have an Airbnb host asking you for your phone number, you might be handing over personal information to an unverified party. Airbnb now has email, phone, and ID verification steps as well as a profile picture feature, but the verification process is in fact optional and only mandatory IF Airbnb hosts want to be verified in the first place.
All this is set to change after a shooting incident and rising reports of Airbnb scams led to Airbnb announcing they will verify every single listing on the platform by the end of 2020.
Still, even if the Airbnb host you are booking with is verified, there’s no telling if the person behind the account is really running the accommodation, and just a front man for another person or crew.
Reason 2: You are literally making an important arrangement with someone you haven’t met before
Handing out your actual cell phone number to an Airbnb host asking for phone number is just like handing over the keys to your apartment when a complete stranger asks you for it – and it’s a risk you shouldn’t take.
In the best-case situation, everything goes as planned and everyone’s happy. In the worst-case scenario, you could be looking at identity theft, harassment or worse.
Reason 3: Airbnb’s social log-in means the app is integrated with social networks.
You won’t share your phone number openly on social media, so why would you entrust it in the hands of any Airbnb host asking for phone number, on a platform that’s clearly linked to your social media activity?
The interconnectedness of online platforms many of us use today means that if any one of the platforms we’re on gets hacked, our accounts on the other connected platforms can easily get compromised too.
In fact, this has already happened to Airbnb back in 2018: hackers had gained access to nearly 50 million user accounts AND even granted themselves the same level of access to other social network accounts on services like Spotify, Tinder and Airbnb.
Reason 4: With just your phone number, anyone can readily identify who you are with the right tools
Something as innocuous and necessary as an Airbnb host asking for phone number can easily lend you to identity theft, especially if your host isn’t careful with how they handle the information you have passed to them.
For anyone to figure out who anyone else from just phone numbers and emails, you wouldn’t need hacker-level genius or wits. Open Source Intelligence Tools (OSINT) are a dime a dozen today, and some of them are so powerful they can scrape the internet to reconstruct a full digital profile of any individual who uses the internet. Airbnb host asking for phone number? Better hope they don’t expose you to full-blown identity theft.
Reason 5: Using your real phone number could expose you to phishing and impersonation scams
Some Airbnb users have filed complaints over mysterious bookings that cost them thousands of dollars, and it seems that hackers had somehow gotten hold of critical information that also prevented victims from logging in and rectifying the issue.
If you use your real phone number for Airbnb verification, the next victim could be you.
Airbnb verification forms issued by hosts are typically done on third-party applications or websites that do not operate on Airbnb’s platform. Who is to tell if the typeform survey or Google survey you’re filling up with critical information is legitimate or not? Even Airbnb won’t be able to, since it’s not on their platform.
All it takes for hackers to exploit your account is you accidentally filling in a malicious form that’s really a phishing scam.
What about Airbnb hidden phone numbers, or does Airbnb hide phone numbers?
While Airbnb does block out all web listings, phone numbers and email addresses on accommodation listings, they’re doing so to prevent any bookings outside of their platform rather than respecting privacy concerns first and foremost.
That said, Airbnb will not redact any information you willingly share with your host after a booking is confirmed. You will be able to see your host’s contact information, and your host will be able to see yours too.
Get your Airbnb phone number with Phoner
You won’t be able to successfully make an Airbnb booking without a phone number, but what you can do is to use a working fake phone number instead of your real one. Using a fake phone number that can send and receive calls and messages allows you to communicate effectively with your host without having to sacrifice personal privacy. You’ll likely also travel with a sounder peace of mind!
If an Airbnb host asks for your phone number, simply pass him or her any number you get with Phoner. With Phoner, you have:
- Unlimited phone numbers from around the world to choose from
- No limits to the number of calls or messages you can send or receive.
All without the need to get a new phone or SIM card!
Never fret again with an Airbnb host asking for phone number. Book your Airbnb smoothly and safely when you get Phoner today!