Stop Vacation Rental Fraud with Identity Authentication and Background Checks

With Summer Approaching, the New York State Attorney General Warns About Scams When Booking Vacation Rentals

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New York, NY - May 20, 2022 - Today the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James issued a warning to New Yorkers about summer vacation rental scams. “Scammers don’t take the summer off,” she said. “Summer plans can quickly melt if consumers aren’t careful when they book their getaway.” The Attorney General suggests that would-be guests verify their hosts to be sure the host has a valid address and phone number. But the door swings both ways. 

Companies such as AirBnb have invested millions of dollars into developing proprietary self-regulation tools for screening users. This is an enormous added-value benefit for hosts and guests using their listing platform. A recent study showed that self-regulation by the platforms has directly led “to a reduction in incidents of crimes such as assault, robbery, and burglary.”

But this industry self-regulation makes hosts dependent on the listing platform, which could hurt their bottom line. Hosts who choose direct booking instead must be just as vigilant in verifying guests though to reduce their risk of a crime occuring as well.

Hosts who use the Guesty platform to offer direct bookings can now also "check certain databases of public state and county criminal records as well as state and national sex offender registries" (just like AirBnb does) through the use of

Knowledge based authentication quizzes are available to complement or substitute for photo ID and passport authentication. Facial recognition and liveness detection assures hosts that the holder of the ID or passport is the person it belongs to. The data that is embedded in the barcode of a photo ID or MRZ of passport is traced to authoritative databases and then can be checked against certain public state and county criminal record databases as well as state and national sex offender registries. With just a couple of toggles, check boxes and drop down selections in our customer portal, hosts can now determine their own pass criteria for allowing a direct guest booking and customize their workflows and communications accordingly.

Authenticate is integrating with other software service providers in the short-term and vacation rental category in addition to Guesty. We will be rolling out this functionality to Hostaway and others soon.

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