Travel warning: How to avoid fraud when renting a beach holiday home


When planning a wonderful weekend getaway or a great vacation time at a vacation home, be aware that scammers are ready and waiting to take your money, leaving you without that beautiful beach house you thought you had booked. How to avoid being a victim of online abuse? Be aware and smart. Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Use your common sense and caution and you can book a wonderful vacation for you and your family in a great location. Do your research. Use reputable travel websites for just one thing. See recommendations for a beach house you want to rent. While there are many vacation rental sites on the Internet, not all created equal. See comments and blogs on the actual site you are looking for and choosing.

Are you open to going anywhere that looks good or do you have a specific place in mind? Are your dates tight or can you be flexible? Going to a place that is off the beaten track can offer you new adventures and things you may not have thought of. If you are open to different times of the year and date, you may be able to negotiate a free night or a significant discount, don’t be afraid to ask!

One of the currently common fake bookings involves money reviews. Never book a place or send a cash invoice as a payment. This is a sure sign that someone on your site is “stuffed”. This can happen without the owner even knowing; their website is being hacked, and inquiries from legitimate renters like you are directed to their email account.

That happened recently with a California holiday home in Marin County. The landlord made an initial inquiry to the homeowner via the paid travel website. After initial contact and response, the owner’s email was compromised and the landlord was now dealing with the scam. The official layout contract was sent to the landlord on the rental dates with instructions to send the invoice to the name and address in Houston, Texas. The potential landlord went to Walmart to send him the money, and he just mentioned that it was kind of funny to send it to him. The clerk wisely warned him and decided to call the owner directly. Luckily for him, because it was a scam. As it happened, the house was open, so he could book directly with the owner by paying with PayPal.

Be careful, and you can have a wonderful time in a holiday home rental property and create beautiful and lasting memories of a once-in-a-lifetime event!