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Don’t pay for a vacation to nowhere

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With winter almost over, are you itching to get out of town? As you search for your perfect getaway, you might come across good-looking vacation rental deals that seem amazing. Unfortunately, some “steals” are posted by scammers trying to steal your money. They’ll leave you with a vacation to nowhere.

Scammers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. They create fake websites that look legitimate, using names and logos of real hotels. They post gorgeous photos of homes and condos — real and fake — on property sharing sites. And they know they’ll get your attention with super low rental prices.

They might ask you to wire money to hold the rental — either a deposit or the full amount. But when you show up for your vacation, suitcases in hand, there’s a problem. Sometimes the rental property doesn’t exist. In other scams, the place you thought you booked wasn’t actually available. Either way, your money is gone, along with the hopes of a stress-free vacation.

Here are some tips to help you avoid a vacation rental scam:

  • Search online for the owner and listing with words like review, scam, or complaint. You may find comments from others who have identified this listing as a rip-off. Another clue it may be a scam? If you find the same ad listed under a different name or with different contact information.
  • Check that the address of the property really exists. And get a copy of the contract before you send any deposit money. If the property is located in a resort, call the front desk and confirm specific details about the location and the contract.
  • Consider using a credit card to book your rental. If there are any problems, you’ll get better protections that way. But whatever you do, don’t be pressured into wiring money. If a property owner requires payment via MoneyGram, Western Union or Green Dot cards, chances are, it’s a scam.

Do you think you sent money to someone for a fake vacation rental? Report it at If you paid by credit card, get in touch with that company as soon as you can. And contact the fraud department of the website where you found the posting. You might not get your money back, but you can help others by getting the post removed.

Check out tips to avoid other travel scams at, and have a fun and scam-free vacation!


Thank you for that information.

Take Three Night is a company that will call to sell you a travel package for $200. It promises a 3 night stay at a 4 star hotel. When you try to book the hotel they state that the only hotels available will cost more (I was asked to pay $200 more). I tried several location and the same scenario.

The sad part is that their certificate even states that they have a license and bond issued by California, Office of the attorney General in the amount of $10,000.

Isn't the Attorney General responsible to close down this company that is ripping off consumers.

I sure hope the Federal Trade Commission is forwarding this information to the California Attorney General.

If you want law enforcement to have this information, file a complaint with the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

How does this work

Dirty Dogs

This is very correct. FTC please implement a better claim update process; it is frustrating filing claim with the FTC and it seems like they disappear in the air, you have no transparence. This makes your comments and advice dubious.

I tired to book a room with They have a place on there site. That has a very bad manger. The prices don't match what he has to what he wants to charge. I think they know because they told to look for another place to book instead of telling him to get off there site.

I was /am a victim of id theft and still trying to figure out what is still out there

If you've been a victim of identity theft here are some steps you can take to protect yourself. You can find more information about identity theft at

I just booked with a vacation membership; not a timeshare. It may be legit, but I am regretting sending money (via paypal). Isn't there supposed to be a 24 hour or 3 day ability to cancel? Where can I find rules on that? I am in WA state; they say they are in Florida.

You might be thinking of the FTC Cooling Off Rule.

The Rule gives you a 3-day right to cancel a sale made at your home, workplace or dormitory, or at a seller’s temporary location, like a hotel or motel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant. It also applies when you invite a salesperson to make a presentation in your home. But not all sales are covered.

The Rule doesn't cover sales that are made entirely online, or by mail or telephone.

Read this FTC article about the Rule for more details.

Scammers are like stones!

Don't be scammed by an outfit called Sunny Palms International. There's a website still online. Last June I got a phone Call telling me I could get a vacation at my choice of their resorts & a bonus cruise later. Should have known it was too good to be true. Tried to make a reservation recently & the 800# to book it is a dead end & the website to book it is a hoax also! Lesson learned the hard way!

Watch out for Chase 88 (Chase88. com) giving out free 2 day cruise via Holiday Cruise Lines. Just lost $119.

You can report this to the FTC at You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you received. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

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