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Vacation rental scams

Vacation rental scams

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Rental scams can include:

  • Vacation rentals. Promise low fees and great amenities.
  • "Free" vacations. Could come with hidden costs.
  • "Free" wi-fi connections. May obtain your credit card information.
  • Fake third-party booking sites. You pay with a credit card and, receive a call from the company asking to verify your name, address, and banking information.
  • Timeshare resales. A timeshare owner looking to sell gets a call from someone claiming to be a real estate broker or agent. 

Safety Tips:

  • Use a trusted travel website, and do research to ensure the company is reputable. 
  • Be skeptical of any pitch that offers steep discounts on travel and accommodations. 
  • Don’t trust any vacation seller who asks for payment outside of the online travel platform. As long as you stay within the platform from start to finish, from payment to deposit, it’s very difficult to become scammed.
  • Be on the lookout for fake listings that include phony images or appear as new posts with no reviews.
  • Avoid any vacation seller who asks for payment by wire money, cryptocurrency, or gift cards.
  • View multiple sites, compare prices, and when at all possible, call and reach out to the property owner.
  • Before you make a payment, make sure you get the details about cancellation and refund policies in writing.
  • Use a credit card. This gives you more protection than paying by cash and it could be easier to dispute unauthorized charges. 
  • Confirm reservations independently. Make sure what you’re booking is the actual hotel or rental property. 
  • Request information. Go directly to the hotel, rental home, or airline and ask what features are included. 
  • The listing may also have grainy photos. By taking a screenshot of the photos and doing a search on Google Images, you can find out if it exists elsewhere. If the image shows up for another listing in a different location, or in an unrelated context, such as a furniture advertisement, then it’s a scam.
  • Be sure the host or owner has a valid address and phone number.

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