How the scam works:
You are ready to have the vacation of your dreams and, hoping to save some money, look for rental properties in the city you are going to.
After researching online for days, you find the ideal property: beautiful house, close to the beach, everything is included, and – most importantly – an affordable price!
You are smart and actually research the existence of the property. It does exist and you might even find it listed on some other “Rent by Owner” sites, with great authentic reviews, from real people. Happy, you contact the owner, close the deal, and wire the money. You go on your vacation, but when you get to the house, there are other tourists in it!
What happened was the scammer took the initial postings of the vacation property and reposted it himself on other websites, putting his own phone number or e-mail, as contact. You paid for a real property, but to the wrong person – similar to the case listed in New Landlord Renting Property Scam.
How to avoid:
Very tough, but doable. First, call the owner, instead of emailing him. When you do that, make sure you have prepared a few detailed questions about the neighborhood. Research what’s in the area before the call and ask the owner, fake or real, about specific shops, institutions, or buildings close by. For example, if you found that there is a hospital on the next block, ask him how far away is the closest hospital.
You should always use legitimate websites to book your accomodation. If you are about to go on a trip, below you havea couple of alternatives that are great, safe, and legitimate. Very recommended, check them out. However, do your due diligence when engaging in any deal.
Top 2 best vacation rental properties providers:
HomeAway is the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals, with sites representing approximately 700,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout 168 countries. For owners that wish to list their vacation property on HomeAway there is one low annual fee to advertise your home. No commissions or booking fees - you keep 100% of your rental income. If you are looking for your next vacation rental property, you can search for free on their website HERE.
2. VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner)
VRBO is also one of the world’s largest vacation rental-by-owner websites. They provide an online space for homeowners to advertise their vacation properties and make it easy for millions of travelers to search over 150,000+ rentals in over 100 countries worldwide. Same as HomeAway, there is one annual fee to advertise your home and owners pay no 'booking fees' or commissions and keep 100% of your booking revenue. You can check their listings HERE.
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