Airbnb, the online vacation rental match-making service, announced Tuesday that it will launch a program the lets its users verify their identification, using drivers' licenses and passports, among other information.
The company says users can earn a "Verified ID" badge by linking their profiles to an online identity, like Facebook or LinkedIn, and either scanning a photo ID or "confirming personal information." If users choose not to scan photo IDs, they can answer historical questions, like their home address from 5 years ago.
When users agree to verify their identity, they will be asked to agree
to share their information with Airbnb's "service providers" for
"verification and risk assessment purposes." According to Forbes, the company is using a company called Jumio to process offline IDs.
Airbnb will require a random 25 percent of its users in the United States to go through the verification process, with plans to expand around the world.
The Verified ID program doesn't guarantee anything more than the real identity of an Airbnb guest or host. The company still encourages users of its service to make smart choices.
"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," the company wrote on its blog.
Airbnb says it is implementing the program to build more trust in its community. In 2011, the company made news when a San Francisco host reported her home was vandalized. Soon after the incident, the company implemented the "Host Guarantee" program, which insured hosts up to $50,000. In 2012, Airbnb raised that amount to $ 1 million.
Users who want to verify their identity now can go to: Airbnb.com/verify.
Airbnb was founded in 2008 and has over 300,000 listings in 33,000 cities worldwide. The San Francisco-based company garnered attention when actor Ashton Kutcher became a strategic advisor in 2011.