Watch out for crooks posting fake rental listings targeting vacationers

Spring break is over, and it’s time to start thinking about summer vacation. Many of us will head online to find the best deals, especially for places to stay.

We are sending out the warning that places you pay and book for online might not even exist.

Scammers will look at real rental listings and then repost them with their own information instead. Your deposit goes to them, and you don’t have a place to stay.

Other crooks will make up fake rental ads using real properties they easily find.

Bret Hood, a retired FBI agent, has seen this type of scam in Florida.

“They advertise a great beach vacation, but in reality, they don’t own the home,” Hood explained. “They lift the ad from someone else who owns the home, insert their own information and then get you to pay them with gift cards, with wire transfers, something you can’t get back.”

A lot of these ads promise great properties with great amenities, all for unbelievably low prices. Be careful:

  • Don’t wire money or pay with gift cards (use a credit card)
  • Don’t make a rush decision (another property will pop up)
  • Look out for super cheap rates
  • Get a copy of the contract

You can always reverse search the photographs of the home to see if it is being used in other ads.


Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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