Vacation Rental Craigslist Scams 5 Tips (Red Flags) To Avoid Being Victimizedby: Utah's Best Vacation Rentals
We receive calls from people on a weekly basis distraught because they thought they were renting a real vacation rental from a real person on Craigslist and found out it was a scam.Dont fall victim to the scammers using Craigslist and other free classified websites posing as homeowners with a vacation rental only to get you to send them money which youll never see again.
We have compiled 5 tips (red flags) that will help you avoid becoming the next victim of this cruel scam:
1. Pay attention to grammar: In almost every case, scammers posing as a real owner reside in foreign countries. Pay attention to the composition of their writing. Spelling, horrible conjugation, sentence structure and punctuation will be markedly poor. This is your very first red flag.
2. Scarce details on the listing: Does the homes advertisement provide the basic details: bedrooms, bathrooms (half and full), basic amenities, price, and location? How about a map? If not, beware. Many scammers cleverly copy and paste photos and details from other listings that may be real and trick you into believing everything is valid. Then, they get you to wire money to their account and youre left with nothing.
3. Ask for address and check it on Google maps street view, compare to photos listed on the advertisement: This can be a sure fire way to ensure authenticity. If the scammer has copied and pasted a legit home and posed it as his own, the one thing he may or may not know for certain is the actual property address. Ask for the address. If he refuses or simply ignores your request, beware. If he provides it, check it on Google maps street view and compare the front of the home with the images provided on the ad.
4. Talk on the phone: Ask for the owners phone number and call them. Most real owners eager to rent their real vacation home understand the scammers are tricking people, and will usually provide a valid phone number on their advertisement. If not, beware. In your initial email inquiry, ask them for their phone number, that you prefer to talk on the phone. Provide them your phone number and request they call if they wish to proceed. If they are real owners and their home is available, they will also prefer to call. Its a sure fire way to ensure you wont get scammed. If you do talk to them and they have a thick accent or poor English, beware.
5. Stay clear of lists of questions: Scammers usually will reply to your initial rental inquiry by asking a list of questions: Name, address, phone, bank account information, and more personal information. Depending on what type of scam it is (wire transfer or money order fraud) will determine the types of questions they ask. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT give this information until you are absolutely certain this is the real home and the real owner and have completed the tips above.
These tips are general guidelines that weve found helpful. They should not be considered the only ways to identify true scammers. Clever scammers strategies may adapt as they become more aware of what consumers know. But, in general these will be most effective and we hope they help you from falling prey to the next vacation rental scam wherever they be hiding.