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I am thinking of including the following verbiage at my website as a way for potential renters to determine if they are dealing with the Owner (and not a fake owner).
To confirm you are communicating with the Owner:
1. Check Owner’s email header info. It should say “X-Originating-IP: [xx.xxx.xxx.xxx]”. Google "how to check ip address in an email".
2. or, Call Owner at the number listed in this ad.
At least for the tech savy renter (or those that googled "how to check ip address in an email), they can check the Owner's originating IP in the email header info (#1), else they can call (#2).
I'm not sure if I should go ahead with it, or not. Anybody thinks this is a good idea, or not a good idea?
I really know my way around a computer. Mac & pcs, all kinds of programs, social media, etc. BUT to check for the originating IP, I would have no idea how to do that.
I like the second choice. A lot of miscommunication and/or spam calls can be nipped in the bud with a simple call to the owner if someone is feeling uneasy. Every scam I have ever heard of, there was no verbal communication between them.
It only makes sense for both parties to SPEAK to each other on the PHONE.Both parties can gain a lot more comfort (and have a much better shot at repeat visits) if a conversation results, at some point, from the inquiry.
Renters that were victimized by scammers that phished the Owner’s email account did not call the Owner. If an Owner’s email account was phished, the owner won't be aware of the existence of an email inquiry, as it would have been deleted by the scammer, and cannot initiate calling a potential renter. If the Owner’s email account wasn’t phished and initiated the call, that’s really not the same, because the potential renter still has to determine if it was the Owner he/she is talking to or not. Some reported cases of victims mentioned that they were called by the perpetrator.
If a potential renter sees my warning, they will have been educated at the very least. Some of them might actually take (any) one or both actions, and if so, they will have the assurance of knowing that they are dealing with the actual Owner; thus attaining my intended purpose. If they didn’t take action, and fell victim to a scammer, then they have only themselves to blame.
I am inclined to place the above verbiage primarily because the actions that VRBO/HomeAway has taken thus far were not sufficient enough to put a stop to this type of scam.
In my responses, I always confirm my VRBO no., provide our private website and my tel. no. if people have any questions. So far, so good. I, too, have thought about adding some "reassuring language" to my advertisements, but like you, just don't know how or what to say...?
In your responses.....
What if your email account has been phished? You won’t be able to respond.
I see what you mean - my response is only good to reassure potential guests "if" I get the e-mail in the first place. I really am a creature of habit and love what e-mail has done for this type of business. I almost hate to add an extra step and have people call first, but it is an added measure of security. But again, how to put this in an advertisement without alarming would-be guests....?
... But again, how to put this in an advertisement without alarming would-be guests....?
Yes, that is my utmost concern. On the other hand, those that fell victim to this type of scam would have preferred to see this type of warning, than none at all. So it is a delicate balance, but with the additional warning, an added measure of security is provided. And in order not to cause any more alarm with prospective renters, I have reworded the warning to make it inconspicuous, like so:
I'll be replying to email inquiries at originating IP 18.104.22.168. Google 'how to check ip address in an email' to learn.
I have revised the warning to say:
For the protection of our guests, Owner has a very strong anti-spam & phishing protection in securing email communications. In addition, we provide you with the opportunity to check the extended header of owner’s incoming email so you can be sure the email you received came from the Owner. Owner’s email extended header should have: “X-Originating-IP: [22.214.171.124]”. Google “how to check IP address in an email” for more info.
Monitoring various other vacation rental forums convinced me that this type of phishing scam continues unabated. Weighing the delicate balance whether I should put out the warning or not has been a difficult decision to make, but ultimately I thought it best to put it out. Not that I have fears of falling victim to this type of scam as I have set up my own measures to defeat this type of phishing scam (detailed in my other posting in other thread). My posted warning is primarily for my Potential Guests to provide them with the means to find out if the email they received was sent by the Owner, so it is for their benefit, security and peace of mind. 90% of my guest communicated with me via email and never bothered initiating the call. There is nothing I can do if that is their preferred mode of communicating. It is mine too. Most find it convenient to communicate via email as opposed to calling. Hence, this warning is for potential guests that prefer to use email instead of calling. This scam is already out there and has been publicized in various newspapers. Who knows if it has made a dent in the reduction of vacationers patronizing the Vacation Rental Industry? The Credibility and Integrity of the Vacation Rental Industry needs to be strengthened. I would have preferred HomeAway/VRBO to take programming measures through the use of their website to defeat this type of scam, and until I see that happening, my warning will stay. In my mind, I thought it should be easy for HomeAway/VRBO to incorporate such measures since Initial Inquiries are done through their website. They can tract the IP address of the Inquirers. It should be easy to tell. A scammer will have an activity of continuously performing Inquiry, all throughout the day, and every day, to various vacation rentals in the world. Isn’t that telling enough? Hello!
Here's a post on phishing and our plans to address it.