Watch out for the rise in short-term vacation rental scams
Vacation rental properties on sites like Airbnb and VRBO have grown in popularity over the past few years.
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But if you’re looking for temporary living rental properties, family vacation rentals, or anything else, be sure to be aware of these potential threats when it comes to short-term rentals.
What is a short-term rental scam?
A short-term rental scam is when someone tries to scam you out of money under the guise of offering you some sort of short-term rental. The scam can be orchestrated in different ways, but the consistent theme is that someone posing as a legitimate landlord or real estate agent is trying to get you to sign an agreement and wire money. In fact, there is no rent, or the person who “rents” you the rent does not own or have the right to rent it.
What are the scams to watch out for when booking a short-term rental?
Below is a list of potential scams that have occurred in the past that you should beware of.
Consider booking a spring break destination for the upcoming vacation
First, if you book a rental property for a holiday trip, it may be because the hotel is full or overpriced, and some landlords will take advantage of this.If you are asked to do a holiday deposit To the owner, especially the use of TonThird-party apps, wire transfers, or in a different way than the website you booked, that owner may take advantage of your desire to book their property during busy times. They’ll take your holiday deposit and scare you off, which means you’ll never hear from them again and you won’t be living in a rental where they probably don’t exist.
false listing scam
It mostly happens on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, and Craigslist. However, even on rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO, scammers can get away with false listings. If a listing looks like an unbeatable deal, it’s likely a scam.
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Click Bait Switch Scam
These ads look like great vacation rentals, but, when you click on them, a less appealing property appears.Likewise, there are double booking scamwhich is when the owners get greedy and book two families in the same place, forcing one to be a worse property for the same price.
price change scam
This happens when you book a property for one price, and when you show up, the price suddenly goes up. Avoid this by making sure everything is in writing in your vacation rental agreement, avoiding any arcane clauses that could cause price changes or unusual charges.
How can I protect myself from short-term rental scams?
- avoid paying Through a third-party application, wire transfer, or any other method that is not available on the rental booking site you are using.
- Never pay property fees up front When renting from classified sites or social media. It may be standard practice for official sites like Airbnb or VRBO to ask you to pay a deposit, otherwise don’t accept prepayment.
- only communicate with the host The messaging platform offered through the Site. For proper record keeping, please refrain from communicating outside of the Site.
- Confirm site execution real identity verification all its users.
- careful Unsolicited email: Be careful if you receive an unsolicited email from someone claiming to be offering short-term rentals. Scammers often use email phishing to steal personal information.
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What to do if you suspect you have been scammed
- If you suspect that you have been the victim of rental fraud and you have sent money by check or wire, contact your bank Instantly See if you can stop paying.
- Next, you can file a complaint Contact your local police department, FBI or FTC.
- If you give scammers sensitive information about yourself, such as your social security number, consider setting up a Fraud Alert You will be notified if someone tries to apply for credit in your name.
- use Identity Theft Protection Monitors your social security number and alerts you if it’s being sold on the dark web or used to open an account. See my tips and best options on how to protect yourself from identity theft by searchingidentity theft” On CyberGuy.com click on the magnifying glass icon at the top of my website.
- Warning to others: If you found a rental property through a listing site, please report the scam to the site so they can take action to prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.
Remember, if you think you have been the victim of a rental scam, it is important to act quickly. The sooner you report an incident and take action, the better your chances of recovering damages and preventing further harm.
Have you seen any short-term rental scams lately? Let us know about your experience.
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