How a simple Airbnb scam nearly cost a Stanford graduate $3,000

When Aiste, a biotechnology researcher based in Boston, planned a family trip across Europe, she turned to Airbnb to book 15 different accommodations across several weeks of travel—including one in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The villa was modern-looking, with a pool and beautiful lighting, and she was excited to find a space that looked nicer than others in her price range.

But soon, red flags also caught her attention: The hosts requested that Aiste—her last name has been withheld for privacy—email them directly rather than booking through the site. (Airbnb specifically discourages users from doing.) Even though this was clearly a stunning property, the profile listing didn’t have many reviews.

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