Vacation home renters learn the clues that prevent you from getting caught in a scam losing both your time and money as well as feeling the shame in having it done to you.

There is no fun in this happening to you.

One of the latest trends in travel is vacation home rental. A prospective traveler goes online, looks at ads for homes to rent, fills out a form and sends a payment to secure a home or a room. However, for scam artists, this is just another way to swindle travelers out of their hard-earned money. With a little investigation, travelers can notice some clues that the prospective rental is a scam.

Photo Traps

Scammers will often take photos of beautiful homes and post them as their own property for rent. The true owner is totally unaware of what is happening. Scammers get a deposit or full payment from the customer and disappear. Another trick is to take a legitimate listing, cut and paste it onto a bogus vacation home rental site and take bookings for the property. When clients ask for a tour of the property or to meet the owner at the property, the scammer is conveniently out of the country and can’t be present.

Cash Only

Another red flag is when the scammer insists on cash payment, ideally through wire transfer companies like MoneyGram or Western Union. They may also ask for a certified check. Scammers will often list the property at a very low price. The scammer will insist the property is in high demand and require a deposit to hold it. In the end, the traveler finds that the property belongs to someone else or even does not exist.

Misspellings, Poor Grammar, Typos

This is often a tip off that the site is not legitimate. Unusual phrasing, misspelled words or awkward grammar are common signals that the sender is not locally based and may be operating from another country. Legitimate companies present their information in a professional manner. Stick with well-known vacation rental sites like Villadirect, Airbnb and HomeAway.

James Stacy