Vacation season is in full swing and many people are looking for a place to stay. If you’re one of the people who has been scammed by a fake vacation rental listing, you’re not alone. This problem is on the rise and it’s important to know how to protect yourself. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for avoiding fake vacation rental listings and what to do if you fall victim to one.
Tips to Avoid Fake Vacation Rental Listings
- The first step is to research the rental listing. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be sure to check out the reviews and see if other people have had a positive experience with the rental. If you can’t find any reviews, that’s a red flag.
- Contact the owner or property manager directly to ask questions about the rental. If they are unwilling to answer your questions or provide you with more information, that’s another red flag.
- Only book through secure sites. You can confirm the site’s security by looking for “https://” rather than “http://”. If there is no “s”, it’s not a secure site.
- If you do decide to book a rental, be sure to pay with a credit card. This will give you some protections in case the rental turns out to be fake. Be sure to keep all of your documentation and receipts in case you need to dispute the charges with your credit card company.
Immediate Action Steps
If you think you may have been the victim of a fake vacation rental listing, it is important to take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Here are some steps to take if you think you have been scammed:
- Keep all documentation related to the scam, including any emails, letters, or receipts. This will be helpful if you need to file a police report or take legal action against the scammer.
- Report the incident to the website or app where you booked the travel or first made contact with the scammer.
- If you provided financial information, like your credit card number or bank account information, contact your bank or credit card company right away. They may be able to help you cancel the transaction or get your money back.
- If you paid using gift cards or a money transfer service, contact the issuer. They may be able to help you stop the transaction.
- If you provided personal information, like your Social Security number, you may be at risk for identity theft. Contact the three major credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This will make it harder for the scammer to open new accounts in your name.
It is important to be aware of the dangers of fake vacation rental listings. By following the tips in this blog post, you can avoid becoming a victim of a travel scam. If you do find yourself in a situation where you have been scammed, take action right away to protect yourself and your finances. Reporting the scam to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is an important step in preventing others from becoming victims of travel scams.
To learn more about other types of scams you may experience when booking travel online, visit our travel scams page.