How To Spot A Vacation Rental Scam
What is a Vacation Rental Scam?
A vacation rental scam occurs when a fraudster poses as a property owner or manager to scam unsuspecting renters out of their money. The scams usually involve the victim wiring or paying funds up front to reserve a vacation rental property, only to find out that the property doesn’t actually exist, or that the fraudster has no right to rent it out.
How to Spot a Vacation Rental Scam
Check the Property Ownership
Before making any payments, verify the ownership of the property you’re looking to rent. You can do this by checking online property records, calling the local land registry office or even contacting the owner/realtor directly. Don’t rely solely on the listing website.
Be Cautious of Suspicious Emails
If you receive an email that includes spelling or grammar mistakes or uses a free email service such as Gmail or Yahoo, it could be a scam. Be especially wary if the sender requests payments by wire transfer or requests personal information, as this is a common tactic scammers use to steal your hard-earned cash.
Don’t Fully Trust Pictures
Scammers will often use images of beautiful properties that aren’t theirs in their rental advertisements. So, never book a vacation rental based on pictures alone. Instead, do some digging by checking multiple rental websites and comparing photos. You can even use Google Maps street view to verify the property’s location.
Check the Online Reviews
Always check the rental property’s online reviews before making any bookings. Authentic reviews from past renters can give a reliable idea of the legitimacy of the rental property and its management. However, don’t fully rely on reviews from the same website as they can be faked, try to search on independent review sites for the rental property.
Be careful when it comes to booking vacation rentals. With a little bit of research, you can protect yourself and your money from becoming the victim of a vacation rental scam. Always remember to verify the property ownership, check suspicious emails, cross-check images, and read reviews. Always exercise caution, and trust your instincts if anything seems amiss.