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Don’t Let a Rental Scam Spoil your Vacation

Rental sign in front of vacation home

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Renting a vacation home or condo directly from the owner can stretch your vacation dollars by eliminating the rental agent or property managers’ commission. But, there are precautions you need to take before putting your money down on that bargain. Scammers can spoil your vacation by taking your rental money and leaving you with no place to stay when you arrive.

These thieves work several ways. They may replace the owner’s contact information with their own and put the property description and listing on their own website. Another trick is to hijack the property owner’s email account so that your inquiry goes to the scammer, not the real owner. Some scammers even create listings for places that don’t exist or aren’t for rent.

To avoid being caught in a vacation rental scam, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you:

  • Don’t wire money or pay for your vacation rental with a prepaid or gift card.
  • Don’t be rushed into a decision.
  • Beware of very cheap rates for premium vacation property. Do extra research if the price sounds too good to be true.
  • Get a copy of the contract before you send a deposit. Be sure that the property’s address really exists.
  • If the rental is located in a resort, look up the resort’s phone number and call that number to confirm location and details.

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