The way the laundering works, says the Daily Beast, is criminals are using stolen credit card numbers to book rooms on Airbnb via “story-telling hosts”–that is, hosts who are in on the laundering. The person doing the booking then sends the money to the host to pay for the room, the host then takes a cut and send the rest of the money back to the launderer who booked the room. For its part, Nick Shapiro, Airbnb’s global head of trust and risk management, told the Daily Beast:
“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.”
For what it’s worth, cybersecurity and money laundering experts say this technique isn’t limited to Airbnb. Money launderers use other online services to launder money in the same way.