Well, we’re just about through with the spring break season. One more week to go—so far so good for me, no underage kids snuck through my armored screening process.
This week I got an inquiry from a “Doctor in the UK.” Before I totally dismissed it, there were a few points that made me think that it could be legit. (Read why this could be a red flag here.)
- Basic information in the inquiry was benign, raising no red flags (except for the fact he was a doctor from the UK). He stated they had visited the area before and wanted to return, their dates were somewhat flexible, etc.
- The guest's email was not from a free email service such as Gmail or Hotmail, but rather from a company. I looked up his company’s website and he was, indeed, profiled as one of the employees (actually, he was the owner of the company).
- The spelling and grammar were correct.
- He referred to my cabin as a cabin (not as an apartment as so many scammers do)
- Didn’t ask for any “pricing information”
- Wasn’t inquiring for anyone else (i.e. his godson in a different country)
- Upon receiving the inquiry, I replied as I normally do with my availability and pricing, but added a clause stating, "We take payment via credit card only.” This generally wards off the scammers who want to pay via a counterfeit cashier’s check.
- He replied and instead of the usual questions about detailed pricing, or questions about the cabin itself, he asked a few marginally odd questions such as: “Where do we collect the keys?” and “Where do we leave the keys?” While these questions aren’t odd, it’s odd to not ask any of the other questions.
- I politely answered his questions and added the statement, “If you would like to book, please call me."
- Low and behold, he called and wanted to book with his credit card in hand.
I wonder how many other owners he emailed and they never replied all because he is a doctor from the UK. Poor guy! That used to be a sure sign of respect, but in today’s environment, it’s a red flag.
Bottom line: A little bit of extra effort and internet sleuthing and I landed a sweet 10-night booking for September, and we all know how September bookings can be.