Airbnb starts verifying user profiles

The company that matches property owners to travelers looking for a place to stay now tags vetted users with verified ID badges.

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Airbnb, which helps people find vacation rentals all around the world, today will start verifying the identity of all users by asking for their real-life papers, the company announced on Tuesday.

Airbnb is asking both travelers and those who have property listings to provide two forms of identification for a new verification process. The company will take people's IDs from Airbnb reviews and social media sites, like LinkedIn or Facebook, and will ask users to fill in information only they would know or scan a photo ID to confirm a match.

For now, the company plans to require 25 percent of its users in the U.S., chosen at random, to complete the process. It intends to expand the requirement worldwide so that all Airbnb members will be verified.

"Verified ID is the latest addition to our suite of trust tools," the company wrote in its blog. "In the end, every member of our community must make their own decisions as to whom to interact and connect with. Determining whom to trust is a choice that each Airbnb host and traveler must make for themselves."

To go through the process on your own, click here. The prompt will ask you to connect to a social media account and then you can choose if you want to scan a passport, ID card, or driver's license. The scan is powered by ID verification company Jumio, which determines if the ID is legitimate and then reads the info on the card.

A second verification option, you can also choose to enter personal details, such as your street address and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Airbnb said what you enter is cross-referenced with information gathered from public records and it isn't stored on the site.

Update, 11:33 a.m. PT: Updated with more information about how the process works.

 

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