The concept behind Airbnb is wonderful, where people can rent out their homes on a short-term basis for travellers who might not have the budget for a hotel. Unfortunately it seems that Airbnb’s system has been abused by criminals as a channel for their money laundering efforts, according to a report from The Daily Beast.

Basically how it works is that through the use of stolen credit cards, these scammers will seek out willing Airbnb hosts on forums. From there these scammers will making bookings through the host and make payments without actually living them, with the host then sending back a percentage of their profits in the process.

As The Daily Beast points out, this is similar to how stolen credit cards are used to purchase high value items such as iPhones, before reselling them and turning the stolen credit card funds into legitimate forms of money. The report goes on to add that some of these scammers do it more than once, with some posts on the forums seeking for long-term arrangements where they could launder as much as $1,000 to $3,000 at a time.

In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Nick Shapiro, Airbnb’s global head of trust and risk management said, “We have a real-time detection system that scores each and every Airbnb reservation ahead of time for risk. Using machine learning and predictive analytics, models instantly evaluate hundreds of signals to flag and then stop any suspicious activity.”

He also adds, “When we are made aware of suspicious credit-card activity, we employ micro authorization friction and 3D-Secure to verify if a credit card is being used by its owner and assess the level of risk associated with a transaction.”

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