Tenants caution. Fake lists of holiday homes are becoming increasingly popular. Fraudsters have become highly skilled at hacking legitimate real estate databases and even drafting actual leases. Unfortunately, websites like Craigslist just aren’t aggressive enough in challenging the tricks and techniques used by sophisticated scammers today. Here are some typical traps and tricks that scammers cheat on holiday home victims:
Too good to be true. If renting a vacation home seems too good to be true, you could be his next victim. If the price is far lower than other lists or the benefits seem too expensive for the price, you can expect a scam. Legitimate holiday homes usually have competitive market prices with other similar properties.
Bait and switch. Scammers like to post glamorous photos of holiday homes and their surroundings. The photos show large spacious rooms, ultra modern kitchens, sumptuous pools and spas and landscaped landscaping with beautiful streets surrounded by trees. These properties will always be somehow unavailable, and the vacationer will then be redirected to another, less desirable property. So always look for a specific address and house number, and then use tools like Google Maps to find real photos of the property and neighborhood. Better yet, ask an agent to use web tools like FaceTime or Skype to show you the property live.
A scam with double books. Fraudsters will double-book the property and then send the vacationers who arrive last to the second-reserve reserve, along with sincere apologies.
Send money now and save the scam. Fraudsters will often ask for money in advance, often in the form of a “security deposit”. And they will want you to use money transfer systems like MoneyGram or they will ask you to deposit the money into a specific bank account. If you have to send money to “save property”, use a credit card or PayPal – both allow you to dispute any fraudulent expenses.
No references or Phony references. Fraudsters will not have legitimate references for you. They will offer you an “excuse for privacy”, saying that their previous renters want to keep their privacy, or they will simply give you the phone numbers of their friends who are cheating. So before you decide to make a reservation, call the property owner or manager and ask for references. You can also view reviews related to Facebook.
False positive reviews. False or insincere reviews are a problem on some holiday home lists. “Disparaging” clauses are starting to appear in holiday rental agreements, which means landlords are not allowed to post negative real estate ratings. So read these reviews with caution. Use Google Maps and Street View to remove all false claims of “stunning good” or a great location just steps from the beach, resort or convention center. Call the property owner or manager and use tools like FaceTIme to discover the actual interiors of the houses.
Incorrect network calendar. Online calendars for many holiday homes can be poorly maintained. Most are a prerequisite for some property owners. Even if the list shows that the calendar has been recently updated, call the owner / manager or send an email and make sure the property is available on the date you need it.
There is no professional asset manager. According to Trip Advisor, 37% of consumers are worried that they will not have emergency contact if something goes wrong in a vacation home. Real estate managers ensure that the holiday home is up to date and in good condition. They have relationships with reputable subcontractors who can solve any property problem that arises. The asset manager can ensure that the asset is advertised and that the asset deposit is handled safely.
Hidden fees. Most holiday homes require a non-negotiable “cleaning fee,” and some even have to pay utilities, cable, and / or internet from renters. Make sure you know all the actual and potential fees before you complete your booking.
Non-professional input. Beware of lists or email addresses that are poorly written with bad grammar. These can be red flags. The same goes for foreign phone numbers or if the property owner / manager fails to respond to the email immediately.
Avoid Craigslist. Don’t use sites like Craigslist. View and book properties directly from reputable holiday home rental sites.