Are you planning a trip this summer? Or maybe traveling over the holidays to visit family? Your dream vacation might turn into a nightmare if you fall victim to a vacation rental scam. Even if your trip is within the United States and not out of the country, it’s just as easy to fake a listing.
Imagine showing up at the address of your rental to find out it doesn’t exist or that the house pictured is owned by someone other than the listing’s contact. Where will you sleep? Is there a hotel nearby? Now your relaxing vacation has become a complete disaster. But how could this have been prevented? Here are some ways to identify rental scams and how to protect yourself if something does happen.
First off, make sure whoever you’re booking with a trustworthy site. Check reviews on other websites for the rental business, learn about others’ stories, and decide if the business you found is legitimate. You also want to make sure you search the site on your web browser rather than using ad links. It’s easy for scammers to pay to be the top search result or to steal similar pop-up ads used by legit sites to lure you to their scam page. Next, be sure to read the site and refund policies. This could be a huge indicator on if you run a higher risk of losing your money, even if the listing was a scam.
Be sure to read reviews on the rental listing as well. You might find out quickly that the house you’re looking at might be real but might not live up to the listings description. You can also search the listing on Google maps to make sure the pictures of the house match the area. Lastly, you can always ask the renter for ID to confirm the property records match the recorder of deeds or assessor’s office. Some online searches will give you this information too but can charge a fee.
Payment options are another major red flag. The owner might ask you to pay them directly or wire them the money rather than using the rental site’s payment feature. They might also state that they are out of the country and other payment arrangements need to be made in order for them to receive funds. By doing this, you are possibly voiding the sites policies making it impossible to get a refund.
Don’t forget, just like any scam, be on the lookout for bad English in communications, refusal to talk on the phone, and if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure your purchases are protected with the Resource One Visa® debit and credit card Zero Fraud Liability coverage. Have you already been a victim of fraud? Contact our debit and credit card fraud department ASAP using the information below:
If your card is lost or stolen, report it immediately at 1-888-918-7313.
If you see fraudulent activity on your card and need to file a dispute, call 1-866-820-2895.