Avoid a vacation property rental scam

Ready to start booking your next vacation? Maybe you’re thinking about renting a house or condo. These days it’s easy to connect directly with property owners who advertise their vacation homes online, and you’ve probably heard wonderful stories from people who rent vacation properties. We have, too. But we’ve also heard from people who’ve fallen for vacation rental scams.

Just this year, the FTC received thousands of complaints related to rental scams. Some complaints are from people who wired money to lease a vacation property, and then learned that the person they were dealing with was not the actual owner. Other complaints are from renters who were asked to pay upfront using PayPal, only to find out later that PayPal doesn’t offer the same protections for services and intangible goods — like real estate rentals — as for physical items. In both scenarios, the people wanting to rent a vacation property lost money. Here are some tips to help you avoid this scheme:

  • Wiring money is the same as sending cash. If you wire money to a person you’ve never met, you have no way to trace it or get it back. If a property owner asks you to pay in full upfront and requires payment via MoneyGram, Western Union or Green Dot cards, it could be a scam.
  • Don’t be rushed into a decision. If you receive an email pressuring you to make a decision on the spot for a rental, ignore it and move on.
  • The lower the price for a premium vacation property, the more likely it’s a scam. Rip-off artists love to attract people’s interest by offering below-market rent.
  • Get a copy of the contract before you send any deposit money. Check that the address of the property really exists. If the property is located in a resort, call the front desk and confirm the location of the property and other details on the contract.

If you responded to an ad for a vacation rental property and believe that you were scammed, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. You also can contact the fraud department of the website where you found the ad. You may not get your money back, but you can help others by getting the ad removed.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Comments

But how can you get a list of scam

New scams are always popping up with every new scam artist. There's no way to get a "list of scams," that's why they give you a list of warning signs that it might be a scam.

This happened to me but I got lucky and started to suspect something was wrong before I sent any money. I found an advertisement for a rental on Craig's List. I responded to the ad and the price seemed too good to be true (first red flag) and the "owner" only wanted a third of the money up front the balance was payable when we arrived (I've been renting at the shore for over 30 years and have never paid on arrival..second red flag). I googled the address, found the name of the realtor that sold the house and called him to get the name of the current owner. The person I was dealing with was not the owner. I notified Craig's List and the ad was taken down within a few hours.

Is good to praper your self,get imformation first.

The topics is very important,I start to like it.

Good for you! That's the way it should work. Even better would have been a notification to the local police department by Craig's List and you.

THIS WAS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!!!! FROM

2:19 AM (6 hours ago)

to me

Hello ,

How are you and your family doing? I really hope i am not getting back to you very late about the House you want to rent, I had to leave the country in a hurry due to my recent promotion and it involves me working out of the country sometimes, and also out of the continent so i am currently in Plymouth,New Hampshire with my wife and daughter. I got promoted due to the fact that i was really effective in helping out during the time of the hurricanes that affected most part of our beloved country. We intend selling the property out rightly if we find a potential Tenant that would want to buy, but right now we are going to concentrate mainly on renting the house on a month to month bases and if we find a tenant who is ready and capable of doing a lease to own after a year of living in the house we would be highly interested also. To be honest with you we are new in all this because this is the first time we are having to rent out our house personally. We tried using a Realtor but found out the Realtor made the rent and deposit too high for the aspiring tenant so you may notice the renting is different in amount to the one earlier posted by my former Realtor, that is the reason why i had to post the house personally with the exact price i know it is suitable for my home. We have made the monthly rent significantly low and affordable and we are also flexible to different ideas the prospective tenant would want to take to payoff the rent and security deposit that would not make the tenant feel renting my home involves lots of money.

I am currently working as a counselor and also relief supervisor for the United States Aid for International Development (US-AID) here in New Hampshire . Please visitand see all the good work we are doing for the country and the world in general. You can also support our mission.I guess by now you should be eager to view the inside because it is a lovely home and perfect for every family. So far, we have seen a couple of interested families but we shall rent to the best tenant according to our choice and the specified tenant renting code.

The house is ready for immediate move-in and also future move-in..UTILITIES ARE ALREADY INCLUDED IN THE RENT AND WITH OPTION OF 6 MONTHS TO A YEAR WITH OPTION OF LEASE TO OWN OR MONTH TO MONTH. I also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person and God fearing person who can take very good care of the house in my absence..we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.So i hope you will promise us that you will take very good care of the house. So get back to me if you know you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home.Hope you are okay with the price of $900 per month and the security Deposit is $700.Get back to me for the rental application...You can go and view the property.

Here is the Address bellow:

Pet Allowed

Please read my e-mail carefully before replying to the mail.

My contact Number for further discussion. Text me and i will surely give you a call.. Please make sure you reply Email before Texting me.

Thanks and God Bless you.

good to know thanks!

Anyone get scammed by a company called Absolute Lifestyle, LLC in Florida? If so, you are not alone!

I gave them money for a rental. What happened to you?

Gave them money for a rental property in Delray Beach, Florida. Was supposed to rent the property for three months -- January, February, and March of this year. Found out on December 12th that we had been scammed. Out almost $13,000 and have no rental property. We are working with various government agencies. What happened to you?

Same here!

same here. I want to hire someone to track them down.

When you don't investigate enough but, rather rush because "it to good to wait@ you lose your hard earn money quickly. Wished more consumers had knowledge of this ability to search this GOV Organization for tips and alerts. A friend thought her ex willed her money. Big scam that cost her dearly. Even visited the country court that this money supposedly was to come from. Heartbreaking isn't it? All kinds of scams out there how can you keep from being scammed one or two times in a life time?

Best to use a Realtor. Especially in resort areas where the owners do not live locally, so if you have a problem the Realtor is there to help.

Vacation rental scam stories are all over the Internet. The scenario usually involves a fake listing, a request for payment by wire transfer and, after you've wired the money, an end to communication from the property "owner." When the dust settles, your money is gone and you have no place to stay.

No one wants to be scammed out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, particularly for a vacation apartment or cottage rental.

Renting a house in Davenport Flordia in March. Found it on Trip Advisor, lots of great reveiws. With Comments back from the land lord. Pictures, paid with Visa. She will not give me the exact address until full payment is received. Is that odd?

The key here, is to go through a reputable business. Do not rent from an individual unless you know them, and do not rent from a business that you can not easily find on the internet. Verification is key and is readily available, as public record, on the Internet. Finding the owner is just as easy. You could even go as far as calling a local realtor and have them verify who these people are.

Anybody ever deal with monthly vacation.com?

DISCOUNT VACTION RENTALS ONLINE SCAMMED ME OUT 1600.00 NOT THERE M.I.A

I got scammed out of $3600 by Discount Vacation Rentals Online in July. Arrived and the business was closed. Went out of business one week before we arrived.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report to state and local consumer protection in your home state and the company's home state.

I like your article and good job
thanks for share !!

I got scammed by Buena Vista Home Rentals for $635.00 via Home Away where I contacted them and they responded back to me saying they would contact me with the info via my email. Turns out they were not legitimate and I paid via credit card via a fake invoice. When we showed up for our vacation they had no info of my booking. I reported it to Home Away and they removed the listing, I reported them to BBB of Florida once I did further research and to my Attorney General's office and FTC as well as my bank. They have scammed 51 people as reported on the BBB. I'm sure there have been others that haven't come forward. The manager of so called business is Fabian Taborda.

Give money to only trustworthy person or known otherwise you will loose your money.. Anyway amazing read there you post for us!! Great job you done !!

What about Flipkey? We were going to stay at a place through Flipkey. I used a credit card for downpayment. Then was asked to send a check to bank for final payment prior to arrival. Owner said bank hasn't posted money which I sent certified and was signed for. Then was asked to pay by paypal which I refused. Was "taken out of reservation" system so I didn't feel good about it and cancelled the reservation. Would you call this a scam? Who to contact? They want a cancellation fee and have in contract about if a attorney is needed they will charge us. Advise?

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under a contract, you may want to contact a lawyer. If someone charged your credit card for something you didn't receive, you can read about disputing billing errors.

If you think a business has not lived up to its advertising, you can report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

I am visiting your blog and i am angry with u.But some vacation property resources like provides the best vacation scam. its my experience

Avoid the vacation villa in Turks and Caicos called Little House on the Prairie. We sent money for what we thought would be a nice rental with a pool, free scooters, bicycles, gas grill. It was a bait and switch. We refused to stay there and received only 1/2 of our money back - so far. Dameko Dean lists his personal home as a VRBO and goes to live with his mother while the house is rented. There were no scooters and only 1 bicycle for our use, he had some story about what the last renters did to the scooters and bicycle - whatever - we expected them to be here and planned for it by bringing our own bicycle helmets. He had over a week and 3 phone calls and several emails to inform us of the issues. He choose not to inform us and continued to lead us to believe that everything in the ad is what we would get. Avoid this rental and this man. When we brought his name up to the locals, if people knew the name/person, they had no good words to say about him.

Has anyone used a service called Premier Rental Solutions out of Orlando, FL?

They keep calling me. I almost bit. I told them to remove my number, but they still keep calling. I saved them as a contact with DNA (Do Not Answer) behind their name. I have heard nothing positive about them. I have a huge timeshare and they were going to rent it out for me, but want money, routing number, and account number up front to supposedly collect fees.

Anybody ever heard or done business with Elaine at StayTexas.net?

IM TRYING TO DO BUSINESS with her have you herd anything bad about her>

Has anyone heard of Bealocations? A company that rents vacations homes in Las Terranas, DR I'm going with 2 other couples they paid their portion to Bealocation by wire my payment is coming up I really don't feel comfortable wiring money to someone I haven't seen. There is a website but it's kind of Juvenile trip advisors has reviews from 2011 nothing since. My gut is telling me this is shady. Help!!!

Has anyone used ProRetreats INC for vacation rentals? The company address is in the United Kingdom and it states on website that they are a booking company for owners. Maybe like RealEstate companies do?

Did you end up booking with them? I am in the process of booking with them and I'm nervous too.

Did anyone book from Proretreats? It seems too good to be true. They emailed me, I never inquired about the unit the emailed me. I'm thinking I shouldn't book through them. Thoughts?

I inquired about a property and received a basic rental agreement and they asked me to wire the full amount to a bank account in Poland. I am extremely uncomfortable with this and will not be proceeding. I know this location I inquired about very well and their price was so low for a 2 bedroom oceanfront condo on a luxury island...its just too good to be true. Now I think I know why.

Thank you for your comments. I just got an email from them on great deal for a beach rental. The website looks legit, but I can't recall making an inquiry to this company in my recent searches so I was suspicious. I'm glad I looked them up!

Booked accommodation in Chicago through flipkey, owner contacted me by phone and asked me to pay deposit through PayPal, paid this in February have had no contact since. Will now have to look at other accommodation.

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