Renting a home, condo or apartment for a large family get away or just for two is a nice way to spend a vacation. Love a home on the water, or hiking from a cabin in the woods, beware of scammers who want to build up your hopes and take your money.
Scammers are using fake photos and descriptions they have stolen from real estate websites to promote their fake listings on places like Craigslist. They put up a lovely photo, bring you in with a winning description and better yet a low price you may not be able to resist. Remember the saying” If it sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t”.
Once communication starts with a place you are inquiring to rent, keep an eye on the reply’s you receive and how they want to be paid.
Example: An email with misspelled words, or does it address you as sir or madam, is it redirected to another person. Do they provide a phone number that is local for you to talk with someone?
Want you to pay with a money order or wire money to them. Are they out of the country and want you to send the money to say Europe or Nigeria? This is big for wired money scams and guess what, you just gave your money away.
Are they supposedly from an organization or charity? Using this they hope to make you feel more comfortable and trusting of them.
You cannot see the property you want to rent unless you give them a deposit. They may tell you that they do not want anyone to know that the house is empty, and it is for their protection. You should be able to see what you are going to pay for let alone live in for a vacation. Nobody should ask you for a deposit on a rental property before you see it. If you are out of the state you want to rent from it may not be easy for you to take a trip to see the property, hire a real estate agent from a well know company.
Let’s say you do send a deposit; in return some scammers may even go as far as to send you the keys or tell you where the keys are to get access to the property. Either you will receive a set of fake keys, or the place where they said the keys would be, shows up no keys. Be smart, research any deal you come across. Make sure you get a lease agreement and deposit receipt when paying. There are legitimate companies out there, but better to be safe and check with the real estate office in the area you are looking to rent out a vacation spot from.