Vacation rental scams are present. This is something neither travelers nor homeowners can deny. The fact that most deals on vacation rentals are done online offers a fertile ground for scam artists to run their con. The long-distance transactions and renter’s inability to check out the rental makes it easy for scam artist to rip off renters long before they reach their destination.
Vacation rental scams are easy to set up. Most scammers pick photographs and descriptions from sales listing sites and use fake email accounts to con people. Once the scam is posted on classified sites, such as Craigslist and Backpages, the scam artists just have to sit and wait for a gullible traveler looking for a bargain. Other times, scam artists use phishing techniques to get access into accounts on property listing sites. Once they get access, the scammers direct all the inquiries to their fake websites and coerce travelers into making wire transfers and online payments. While most people think renters are the only likely targets, they may be surprised to learn that even homeowners can be targeted.
At times, the so-called renters (scam artists) may offer to pay large amounts through a cashier’s check instead of depositing it into the account of the homeowner. The renter may come up with a plausible reason for this. After sending the check, the renter gets in touch with the vacation rental owner and informs him that their plans have changed and that they would like a refund, which the homeowner does in good faith. A few days after making the refund, the vacation rental owner finds out that the cashier’s check was a fake and he has been duped.
Vacations are a way to unwind and de-stress yourself. The last thing you need is a scam to ruin your vacation and eat into your finances. Here are some tips that will help you spot a holiday house cheat:
Since property owners can also be on the receiving end of a scam, they too should know how to spot a fake renter or scam artist marketing their property. While there isn’t much vacation rental owners can do regarding fake sites other than sending a report to the hosting site, they can take steps to avoid being scammed by fake renters.
Owners should not accept cashier’s checks from renters. If the renter does cancel a check before the homeowner realizes it, they should inform their bank about the possibility of a scam. Do not refund cash unless it gets credited.
If a potential renter is willing to pay more than the usual amount and asks you to transfer the additional sum to someone else’s account, it is a scam. The payment will never materialize. If you transfer the additional amount before receiving payment, you will end up losing money. Do not be taken by such deals.
Perform due diligence on a potential renter. If your instincts say otherwise, take measures to safeguard your interests.