We have all heard rumours of people who had access to copies of ID-card, and who sold copies of these to criminals, who then used these for identity theft. It is really hard to prosecute such a case, because the leak could have come from a different source.

We see again and again that data leaks from companies - some by carelessness, others by criminals (just one example: Ashley Madison), and that you should therefore never trust a company with any information that you would feel uncomfortable if criminals got hold of.

It seems Airbnb is pushing hard to get users to upload a copy of their ID-card. Exactly the kind of information that can be used for identity theft; and with the number of users they have, they will be a very juicy target for criminals, who want to do identity theft.

I believe it ought to be sufficient that they have my credit card details: If I damage rented property, this information should be enough to be either charge me directly or (in case of a crime) hand the information to the police. So I really do not feel like risking getting my identity stolen - just to rent an apartment; and it seems competitors like Agoda do not require it.

Is there a way to use Airbnb without having to upload this information?


I have no problem trusting a company booking on my behalf, heck I even accept they have my credit card details; because if they mess up, then worst case I will not have a booking and I will have to deal with my bank to get the charges reversed and have my credit card cancelled. It is way worse if a criminal can use my identity for any purpose online for as long as the ID-card is valid, because I may not discover the abuse until much later. To me trust is a spectrum - not a switch where you can only trust a company 0% or 100%.

  • Of course you can use Airbnb without having to upload an ID copy. In my opinion you should not do this.
    – xXx
    Jan 19, 2020 at 15:09
  • It is what it is. But it seems that you are simply making a case for preferring Agoda over AirBnB - which you are free to do.
    – Peter M
    Jan 19, 2020 at 16:02
  • 3
    If you do not trust the company with your ID, would you trust them to make and manage your bookings? I think if you do not trust them, you do not use them, many ways to book places to stay outside this one company.
    – Willeke
    Jan 19, 2020 at 17:19
  • 2
    @Willeke these are completely different things. I may trust them for one booking but not trust them to have a copy of my ID on their servers for an indefinite (e.g. endless) period of time.
    – Neusser
    Jan 19, 2020 at 19:41
  • Is identity theft such a problem? I do not see how someone could impersonate me with just a copy of my ID. Jan 20, 2020 at 13:39

2 Answers 2


https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1237/how-does-it-work-when-airbnb-verifies-your-identity (mirror):

At Airbnb, we’re always working on making our community as secure as possible for everyone. That’s why, before booking a home or experience, or becoming a host, we may ask for a government ID or have you confirm your legal name and add your address.


When you’ll be asked to confirm your identity: This may happen for a couple of reasons. For example, some hosts require their guests to complete identity verification in order to book their place or experience. There are also times when Airbnb will ask you to confirm your identity to help us make sure you’re really you.

So unless Airbnb asks for an ID, you're fine.

For the destinations where guests must (by law) share a copy of their passport, you can (always?) directly send it to the host. Examples of such destinations: India, Italy, Peru.


You don't have to upload an ID. My wife a I use the platform without having done so.

EDIT: We're in the US. Note Bërnhard Dobler's comment below: for certain destinations, AirBnB may indeed require an ID.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .