There’s a new scam on the rise. From vacation rentals to college apartments, savvy scammers are stealing big deposits and leaving renters with no place to stay!
Tom Bartholomy of the Better Business Bureau says they’re getting a flood of horror stories.
“You book a home everything looks legitimate and then you fly across the ocean and show up and not only don’t find that rental, but there’s no home at all,” says Bartholomy.
He says scammers are getting more savvy, duping consumers with rental listings using photos of homes for sale. Or sometimes fraudsters copy real listings such as Carolyn O’Brien’s Oregon vacation home.
“How dare you take our house and scam someone our of their vacation and money!” said O’Brien, a vacation rental owner.
Protect yourself by doing a reverse Google image search on photos to see if they’re listed elsewhere.
“We’ve seen some of these in the past come up in 4 or 5 different places,” says Bartholomy.
Experts suggest only booking on websites such as AirBNB that can verify listings and offer protections
“If you are asked to leave the platform in any way it should immediately be reported to AirBNB” said Ali Killam, an AirBNB spokesperson.
And avoid paying with a wire transfer, cashier’s check or payment apps such as Zelle and Venmo.
Instead, arm yourself by only paying with a credit card, and staying skeptical.