Victoria police are warning the public after Airbnb rentals in Victoria were trashed, stolen from and used for prostitution. (File photo)

Victoria police are warning the public after Airbnb rentals in Victoria were trashed, stolen from and used for prostitution. (File photo)

Victoria Airbnb rentals trashed, stolen from and used for prostitution: VicPD

Investigators warn public after two recent investigations

Victoria police are warning the public after Airbnb rentals in Victoria were trashed, stolen from and used for prostitution.

Investigators raised the alarm after two recent investigations.

In the first, a suspect rented a space through a rental site and allegedly trashed the suite and stole thousands of dollars worth of furnishings. The investigation is ongoing.

RELATED: VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

In the second, a prostitution ring, which exploits young women, was discovered to be renting short-term space through Airbnb. Major crime investigators are working with several agencies in an effort to identify the people involved.

ALSO READ: Credit card fraud scams local businesses out of more than $50,000: VicPD

Investigators suggest these simple steps to protect owners:

  • Do not rent your Airbnb without meeting all renters at check-in;
  • Verify your renters through government ID or other verification systems in place through Airbnb;
  • Do not set your rental to be available immediately;
  • Consider setting a minimum stay at your property;
  • If you are using a third-party service to rent your space on your behalf, talk with them to ensure that they are verifying renters and not opening you and your property up to risk;
  • Do not rent without taking payment in advance or via systems in place like those available through Airbnb or other, similar vendors; and
  • Read renters’ reviews and ensure they have a positive history of renting from other hosts.

Anybody with information is asked to call 250-995-7654. Information can also be anonymously provided through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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