Airbnb verification - Social security number workaround

Old Mar 28, 16, 4:46 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: AMS / EDI
Programs: IKEA Family
Posts: 22
Airbnb verification - Social security number workaround

I deferred it for long, but decided to give Airbnb a try. The concept is nice and with my increasing number of nights abroad it could reduce costs as well.

After making my first reservations (and after charging my CC..), the site requested to verify my identity by scanning my ID / passport. No problem, I do understand all is built upon trust and hotels check ID's as well anyway.

However, my ID's and and passports have all been rejected, because I blocked my social security number and document number on the scans, using the app especially provided to do so by the Dutch government.

I won't ever share my social security number with any non-government or health related institution. One of my friends has his life ruined after identity theft when a site was hacked and his passport copy including social security number was stolen. Furthermore, requests for the number by non-authorized authorities are prohibited under Dutch law.

As every random first-line Airbnb employee can view your passport copy and given they're working with a vague third party company for verification, uploading your ID to Airbnb literally exposes it to probably tens of thousands of people.

Thus, sharing the number really isn't an option and no-one should ever consider to do so. However, I can't believe there isn't some kind of workaround for this, as there must be tons of people refusing to share their social security number with Airbnb? At least in the Netherlands it's common practice to hide it on every ID scan, especially after government campaigns on the issue.

Does someone have a successful workaround for being ID verified on Airbnb without disclosing social security numbers and / or document numbers?

There are existing topics on Airbnb verification already, but as my issue is specifically with sharing social security and document numbers, I opened a new one.
Evianon is offline  
Old Mar 28, 16, 5:13 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ewing, NJ
Programs: OnePass, Delta
Posts: 234
Originally Posted by Evianon View Post
I deferred it for long, but decided to give Airbnb a try. The concept is nice and with my increasing number of nights abroad it could reduce costs as well.

After making my first reservations (and after charging my CC..), the site requested to verify my identity by scanning my ID / passport. No problem, I do understand all is built upon trust and hotels check ID's as well anyway.

However, my ID's and and passports have all been rejected, because I blocked my social security number and document number on the scans, using the app especially provided to do so by the Dutch government.

I won't ever share my social security number with any non-government or health related institution. One of my friends has his life ruined after identity theft when a site was hacked and his passport copy including social security number was stolen. Furthermore, requests for the number by non-authorized authorities are prohibited under Dutch law.

As every random first-line Airbnb employee can view your passport copy and given they're working with a vague third party company for verification, uploading your ID to Airbnb literally exposes it to probably tens of thousands of people.

Thus, sharing the number really isn't an option and no-one should ever consider to do so. However, I can't believe there isn't some kind of workaround for this, as there must be tons of people refusing to share their social security number with Airbnb? At least in the Netherlands it's common practice to hide it on every ID scan, especially after government campaigns on the issue.

Does someone have a successful workaround for being ID verified on Airbnb without disclosing social security numbers and / or document numbers?

There are existing topics on Airbnb verification already, but as my issue is specifically with sharing social security and document numbers, I opened a new one.
I have not found a work around and I accept that you wish to not share that information with 'non-government' entities.

Methinks the only work around would be just go to a hotel which would be close to your price range and not fret over having to share or the fact that the information will be hacked, even government computers are hacked more often than not....

good travels
bo1953 is offline  
Old Mar 28, 16, 10:30 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NRT / HND
Programs: UA 1K, DL PM
Posts: 4,241
And I've seen 4 star hotels with stacks of customer check-in receipts at an unattended front desk. All with credit card imprints.

There are many other places than AirBnB with personal security weakness. I do think it's silly they won't allow you to blank out your number but you're not necessarily safer in a good hotel.
dvs7310 is offline  
Old Mar 29, 16, 4:19 am
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: AMS / EDI
Programs: IKEA Family
Posts: 22
Yeah it's true that it could go wrong in many more occasions, but Airbnb with their poorly engineered site and third party access is next level. Hotels usually don't request a copy and if they do, they've always accepted my own provided copy without the numbers.

Anyway, I've just been able to trick the verification to accept it without the numbers, by adding bars in the exact color of the ID background instead of black ones .
Evianon is offline  
Old Mar 29, 16, 4:29 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: NAP
Programs: LH, BA, TK
Posts: 2,376
Originally Posted by dvs7310 View Post
And I've seen 4 star hotels with stacks of customer check-in receipts at an unattended front desk. All with credit card imprints.

There are many other places than AirBnB with personal security weakness. I do think it's silly they won't allow you to blank out your number but you're not necessarily safer in a good hotel.
This.
OP would go mad seeing his ID/passport photocopied from hotel desks like is often used in Italy.
I definitely trust more Airbnb servers than hotels pc or worse showing ID in person at Airbnb host checking in.
Forrest Bump is offline  
Old Mar 29, 16, 8:11 am
  #6  
Moderator: Budget Travel forum & Credit Card Programs, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: YYJ/YVR/SEA
Programs: UA lifetime MM / *A Gold
Posts: 13,263
Originally Posted by Forrest Bump View Post
This.
OP would go mad seeing his ID/passport photocopied from hotel desks like is often used in Italy.
And Cambodia. And Thailand. And Mexico. And Czech Republic. And ...

Well, you get the point.
EmailKid is offline  
Old Mar 29, 16, 9:24 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: AMS / EDI
Programs: IKEA Family
Posts: 22
Originally Posted by Forrest Bump View Post
This.
OP would go mad seeing his ID/passport photocopied from hotel desks like is often used in Italy.
I definitely trust more Airbnb servers than hotels pc or worse showing ID in person at Airbnb host checking in.
Interesting, I've never been requested to copy my ID in Italy in over 20 stays. In Europe rarely anyway, only Hilton sometimes tries, but they accept a copy without the number like everyone else.

My main issue with sharing an ID with Airbnb is that thousands and thousands of people can easily access it. I contacted support on my rejected ID, and the first-line (probably community support) could tell me exactly what was blocked, which means that every random employee and probably even volunteers can lookup all ID's.

But as a computer scientist I indeed don't appreciate ID's being stored on their servers either. Everything is hackable in the end anyway, if financial institutions and tons of Fortune 500 companies are, Airbnb is for sure. Why do they store ID's anyway if it's only for verification (as they claim).

But I definitely agree, ID's are everywhere and most people don't care, I just only prefer to reduce the odds, having seen identity theft happen. It's just silly that copies with the social security number removed are rejected by default.
Evianon is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread