Using the internet to find your vacation getaway is an easy way to access to a huge number of vacation rentals throughout the United States and the world. However, this easy access also gives scammers access to you.
According to a recent article on FORBES online magazine, “The worst rip-offs seduce would-be vacationers with fabulous pictures of fictitious properties. Once the renter is hooked, the phony landlord collects an up-front “security deposit” and runs for the hills. Victims are left unaware they’ve been cheated until weeks later, when they show up at the address with their luggage in hand.”
How can you protect yourself
& your vacation plans?
There are ways to tell if an ad may be a fake or scam:
- Poor grammar and misspelled words.
- Rental rates far below the market rental rates
- The need to wire money instead of using credit cards
- Craigslist.org gives warnings how to protect yourself from rental scams:
- DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON—follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
- NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.
- FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON—BANKS WILL HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
- CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, provide escrow, “buyer protection” or “seller certification.”
- NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.).
- AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
- DO NOT RENT HOUSING OR PURCHASE GOODS SIGHT-UNSEEN—that amazing rental or cheap item may not exist.
- DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT OR BACKGROUND CHECKS until you have met the job interviewer or landlord/agent in person.
Use your “gut” – if it seems too good of a deal, perhaps it’s no deal at all. Take your time to click through to purchase. AND (again) ALWAYS USE YOUR CREDIT CARD TO PURCHASE!
It is always best to deal with a reputable rental company when planning your vacation get away.
Also – don’t post your fabulous vacation photos on Facebook while you’re gone, wait until you’re back. And while you’re on Facebook – follow us!!