Security Alert: Avoid Summer Vacation Rental Scams

  • by Rayna Karst
  • Jun 28, 2024, 14:00 PM

Vacation rental sites like Airbnb or VRBO are popular options for people who may want to stay off the beaten path during their summer vacation. But if you’re not careful, vacation rentals also come at a greater risk for booking scams.

Scammers may post their “rental” on social media or even a rental site, and they’ll offer you a deal if you book directly with them using an alternative payment method. Once you submit payment, they will stop responding to messages. The property may be real, but the scammer doesn’t own it – and you’ve just lost potentially hundreds of dollars.

Keep your bank account safe this summer! Avoid vacation rental scams by following these tips:

  • Always use verified, reputable sites. Legitimate websites, like Airbnb and VRBO, have policies and procedures in place to protect renters from fraud. Proceed with EXTREME caution if you do decide to book directly with an individual.

  • If you’re using a website or app, only communicate through the platform. Communicating through the platform will help by keeping a record of all communication between parties in case you need to submit them later. If someone asks to message you outside of the platform, decline!

  • Save receipts, too! Don’t just save your messages – save any other receipts or documents you receive while you book.

  • Do some research. Hop on Google and do searches for the rental property address and the name of the owner. If it’s a scammer, you may find complaints or reports of fraud.
  • Watch out for weird payment methods. It’s always a red flag if someone asks you to pay them with wire transfer, pre-paid gift cards or cryptocurrency. Stick to using a credit card to make online purchases – it’s much easier to dispute the charge and get your money back.