Sarah Stewart only learned her Hamptons vacation home was fraudulently listed on the rental platform after someone called her to confirm that they should wire $25,000 outside of the Airbnb platform.

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A summer home should bring feelings of joy and peace. But one Corcoran agent’s Hamptons vacation home ended up bringing her headaches and anxiety after it was fraudulently listed on Airbnb.

New York City agent Sarah Stewart received an unsolicited call this spring from someone who had found her home at 8 Heller Lane in East Hampton on Airbnb and was calling to confirm a request to wire her $25,000 outside of the Airbnb platform, The Real Deal reported.

But Stewart had made no such request — and she hadn’t even put the property up on Airbnb.


She typically rents the Hamptons house out during the spring and summer for up to $155,000 per month, but doesn’t use Airbnb — she uses Corcoran’s website. Much to her shock, a scammer had pulled the details and photos of the property from Corcoran’s site and used them to create an Airbnb listing as a verified Airbnb user.

Stewart called the situation “terribly upsetting” and a “violation” of her privacy.

The vacation rental platform did manage to remove the false listing at first, but subsequently allowed it to be put back up after the scammer discounted the rate. With mounting frustration, Stewart was told by Airbnb that her complaint had been shared with higher-ups, but the company ultimately told her she should instead communicate directly with the very scammer who was trying to use her property to swindle money out of unsuspecting Airbnb users.

“We find that communicating directly with the Host is the simplest way to address these types of complaints,” an Airbnb rep told Stewart in an email shared with TRD. “Please reply to this email with a scanned copy of a letter detailing your specific allegation or request, including your contact information. Please note that by providing us with documentation, you are giving Airbnb permission to share it with the Host associated with the listing you identified.”

Stewart found Airbnb’s request ridiculous, noting, “Who knows what that person or persons will do with my information.”

Ultimately, Stewart was able to draw on Corcoran’s muscle to send Airbnb a DMCA takedown notice (a notice that the content infringes on someone else’s copyright), after which the listing was removed. But Stewart said that, had she been renting the place out on her own — without a firm’s backing — she could have been dealing with victim renters showing up at her house all summer, potentially.

“If it had just been me as a landlord, I feel like it would have been the same story with that other listing out in Montauk two years ago,” Stewart told TRD.

That “other listing out in Montauk” was a luxury beach house that a homeowner had listed through Douglas Elliman, which was subsequently put on Airbnb fraudulently at the price of $2,500 per night.

That same year, a homeowner in nearby Springs, New York, had to frequently turn away individuals who thought they had rented out their home, which had been listed on with Hamptons Realty but also fraudulently advertised on Facebook Marketplace.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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