Following victim to a common vacation rental scam can leave you out hundreds of dollars or more and without a place to stay once you arrive at the destination. Those responsible for these scams take deposits or require that travelers pay the entire cost of a stay upfront and then disappear without a trace. They often use different email addresses too, which helps them escape without notice. While you can easily find owners renting out their vacation homes online, you should know what to do to avoid some of the more common scams.
Do a Quick Search
Those running vacation scams online often use the same images in listings for multiple destinations and multiple properties. If you visited that destination before, you can use common sense to determine if it looks like the place you visited. With other destinations, do a reverse image search on the photos in the listing. This will show you whether those images appear on other sites, which will give you an idea as to whether it’s a scam. Do a quick search for the address of the property too. You can then compare the image you see of the real property with the images listed.
Use a Reputable Site
The more common vacation scams that you see online are on sites that do not require any type of verification. Anyone with an email address can list a vacation home, take your money and then disappear before you arrive. Stick to reputable sites that offer vacation rentals by owners that verify the identities of those owners ahead of time. Some sites even offer a guarantee that protects renters. If the owner described the property wrong, tried to overcharge you or violated the terms of service, you can get your money back.
Pay With a Credit Card
When renting a vacation home online, always pay with a credit card. Credit card companies offer protection for buyers and make it easy for buyers to reverse their charges after falling victim to a scam artist. Never send payment via Western Union. Scam artists often ask for Western Union payments because the payments are so hard to trace. You should also think twice about paying with a money order because it may take more work to get your money back. Following these simple tips will help you avoid many of the vacation home scams that you see online.