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131638 Views 177 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2014 3:29 PM by carol RSS Go to original post 1 ... 6 7 8 9 10 ... 12 Previous Next
  • Contributor 24 posts since
    Feb 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    105. Feb 28, 2012 6:55 PM (in response to lce0606)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Understood.  However, these scammers are offering a discount  (usually 10 or 20% off)  for full payment in advance.  And after losing $3800, it makes sense that for the security of using a credit card I would be willing to pay $133 in credit card fees!   We have been communicating on the forum on Facebook where we are all comparing experiences, without being censored by HomeAway staff.    Approx 22 travelers who have been scammed since Nov 2011, and two or three owners giving their valuable input and point of view of the rental property owner.  More joining daily.The real owner (a really super guy)  who I have since contacted and contracted with for a negotiated rental amount, has said that he does not accept credit cards unless the arrival date is at least 4 weeks off.  He says he has lost the money when the card proves to be stolen and the renters have already used the home and are gone.The owners in these scams are believed to be victims, as well, by those of us who have lost money.  Not one person on the Facebook forum blames the real owner.  Though we have all heard from HomeAway that it is the owner's fault their email was hacked and have to make "restitution" to the victims. KB

     

    Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 18:00:26 -0600

    From: community@homeaway.com

    To: kat_e_b@msn.com

    Subject: Re: Scam - everyone should read this! - Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

     

     

        created by lce0606 in Scams - View the full discussion

     

     

     

    Because of the service fee (up to 3.5%) for using credit cards, I use them for deposit and ask for a check for the final balance. If they want to use a credit card for the final balance, they must pay the service fee. By using credit card for deposit, I know the renter is legitimate and the renter knows that I am. I believe that offers a level of trust, but I don't want to absorb credit card service fee for the entire rental amount. If I did that, I would have to raise my rental raises accordingly.

     

     

         Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Community

         Start a new discussion in Scams by email or at Community

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  • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
    Jan 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    106. Feb 28, 2012 7:26 PM (in response to keb)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Wow! That's the first time i saw that the scammers are offering a large discount for paying in full in advance. That would sure be a red flag to me. - For me, that would fall under "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." (Not to say that I've never been tricked by a scammer - I used to be much too trusting.)

  • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
    Jan 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    107. Feb 28, 2012 7:30 PM (in response to thaxterlane)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    That's alot of research to determine if the property owner is who they say they are. Unfortunately, scamming appears to go both ways - against the renter and the property owner. As a property owner, I always appreciate guests who ask alot of questions. I suppose they could still be scamming, but I suspect they wouldn't go to that much trouble. And, I would think that, for the renter, having someone that continues to answer questions by phone, or email, should help assure that it is the real property owner. Scammers tend to want to get in and out quickly.

  • Contributor 24 posts since
    Feb 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    108. Feb 28, 2012 8:04 PM (in response to lce0606)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    In my case, there were a total of 10 emails from the scammer, one phone call, an email address, a bank account in UK complete with branch address, and a fax number.  And we have been doing family reunions for 7 years. Never heard of the scam.  Have been asked for everything from 20% to full payment months in advance, had on site owners, out of country owners, 10% (which was offered this time) discount for full payment, no two rental experiences were the same, except that there was no scam involved until this year.When I enquired on HomeAway Feb 9th there were no warnings of any kind in place.  From that date until this there are now pop ups and warnings on the confirmation of inquiry email you receive just after hitting "send email" on the ad.  It seems the number of cases is growing exponentially.  And HomeAway is realizing they bear some responsibility for not making visitors to their site more aware of the alarming increase in this hard to spot scheme.The only thing that would have helped me avoid the loss would have been to tell the guy on the phone that I would not transfer money until I had seen the vacation rental itself. ( it is only 45 min from where I live  and if the changeover day is Sat., that was 2 days before I wired the money.)One of the other victims who posted on the Facebook site said she ran the contract and emails past someone in security at HomeAway and was told that the contract looked genuine and to not be concerned.  They do not know what to say to her now....

     

    Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 19:30:56 -0600

    From: community@homeaway.com

    To: kat_e_b@msn.com

    Subject: Re: Scam - everyone should read this! - Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

     

     

        created by lce0606 in Scams - View the full discussion

     

     

     

    That's alot of research to determine if the property owner is who they say they are. Unfortunately, scamming appears to go both ways - against the renter and the property owner. As a property owner, I always appreciate guests who ask alot of questions. I suppose they could still be scamming, but I suspect they wouldn't go to that much trouble. And, I would think that, for the renter, having someone that continues to answer questions by phone, or email, should help assure that it is the real property owner. Scammers tend to want to get in and out quickly.

     

     

         Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Community

         Start a new discussion in Scams by email or at Community

                                                                                    © 2010 HomeAway.com Inc. 1011 W. Fifth Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

                                   

    Please add us to your address book to ensure you continue receiving HomeAway emails.

                                   

                                   

     

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  • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
    Jan 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    109. Feb 28, 2012 9:33 PM (in response to keb)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    I wasn't aware that there is now a popup on HomeAway with warnings.

     

    This is all so sad because it's going to make it more difficult for people to trust on either side of the transaction. And if you have had so many good experiences in the past, it would probably make it more likely that you wouldn't be suspicious. I'm also surprise that the scammer continued correspondence with you.

     

    Unfortunately, it isn't surprising that this is happening because wherever there's money to be made, there are going to be scams. And as home rentals becomes more popular it's getting the attention of the wrong people.

  • Contributor 24 posts since
    Feb 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    110. Feb 29, 2012 8:23 AM (in response to lce0606)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Agree

     

    Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012 21:33:15 -0600

    From: community@homeaway.com

    To: kat_e_b@msn.com

    Subject: Re: Scam - everyone should read this! - Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

     

     

        created by lce0606 in Scams - View the full discussion

     

     

     

    I wasn't aware that there is now a popup on HomeAway with warnings.  This is all so sad because it's going to make it more difficult for people to trust on either side of the transaction. And if you have had so many good experiences in the past, it would probably make it more likely that you wouldn't be suspicious. I'm also surprise that the scammer continued correspondence with you.  Unfortunately, it isn't surprising that this is happening because wherever there's money to be made, there are going to be scams. And as home rentals becomes more popular it's getting the attention of the wrong people.

     

     

         Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Community

         Start a new discussion in Scams by email or at Community

                                                                                    © 2010 HomeAway.com Inc. 1011 W. Fifth Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

                                   

    Please add us to your address book to ensure you continue receiving HomeAway emails.

                                   

                                   

     

    View our Privacy Statement | Contact Us  | Terms & Conditions

  • native7 Contributor 47 posts since
    Mar 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    111. Mar 30, 2012 9:04 AM (in response to victimofrentalfraud)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    I have received many of these e-mails that say reply to homeaway or vrbo.  I have ignored them because they did not have the guests e-mail adress and it made me suspicious.

  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    112. Aug 26, 2012 2:02 AM (in response to vacationlady)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Thank you for this information. This is good information for all of us. Thought I was just making it easier for myself to stay logged in, but unfortunately it seems to make it easier for the hackers as well.

     

    Marilyn

    www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

  • native7 Contributor 47 posts since
    Mar 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    113. Aug 28, 2012 4:43 PM (in response to victimofrentalfraud)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Two of my customers have received these e-mails and,  thank  goodness, called us before they wired the funds.  We have posted the following on all of our ads

     

    This property is professionally managed by Luxury Rentals.

     

    Warning ~ Please Note.

     

    We are  a professional Management company located in Naples Florida.

     

    We accept payments by Check, credit care or wire to our bank located in Naples Florida. Anyone asking you to send money to a foreign country, THIS IS NOT US!  

     

    Please call us at 000-000-0000 if you have any questions at all.

  • Active Contributor 295 posts since
    Jun 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    114. Aug 28, 2012 5:03 PM (in response to native7)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    I assume the two customers were communicating with the fake owner or scammer and were given instructions where to send payment. Was your email compromised? Do you suspect you were a victim of phishing? Mind relating the circumstances that lead to this? It might benefit us owners in this forum. We are looking for lessons and how to avoid pitfalls. Thanks.

  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    115. Aug 28, 2012 6:25 PM (in response to tfv)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    I think one of the main components here is to use common sense. Why would a home owner with a property in the united states ask travelers to send a check to England or Russia, etc.

     

    Perhaps a note from each homeowner stating to please call the homeowner for the special password of the week which then needs to be confirmed thru the money request email. So on and so forth. Very cloke and dagger style. Just kidding.

     

    Unfortunately all travelers and home owners need to be on guard. We all need to take precautions in making sure that our websites, rental listings on advertised sites and emails are not hacked. Perhaps a weekly test might be conducted to make sure that we are secure. Otherwise we do not find out about a problem until it is too late.

     

    Marilyn

    Www.hamptonhouseproperties.info

  • Contributor 24 posts since
    Feb 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    116. Aug 28, 2012 8:05 PM (in response to marilyn)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Answer to your question: In our case, the home owner is a UK citizen living in the UK owning and managing properties in Orlando.  It did not seem unreasonable to be sending the money to UK, therefore.

     

    Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2012 18:25:53 -0500

    From: community@homeaway.com

    To: kat_e_b@msn.com

    Subject: Re: Scam - everyone should read this! - Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

     

     

        created by marilyn in Scams - View the full discussion

     

     

     

    I think one of the main components here is to use common sense. Why would a home owner with a property in the united states ask travelers to send a check to England or Russia, etc. Perhaps a note from each homeowner stating to please call the homeowner for the special password of the week which then needs to be confirmed thru the money request email. So on and so forth. Very cloke and dagger style. Just kidding. Unfortunately all travelers and home owners need to be on guard. We all need to take precautions in making sure that our websites, rental listings on advertised sites and emails are not hacked. Perhaps a weekly test might be conducted to make sure that we are secure. Otherwise we do not find out about a problem until it is too late. MarilynWww.hamptonhouseproperties.info

     

     

         Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Community

         Start a new discussion in Scams by email or at Community

                                                                                    © 2010 HomeAway.com Inc. 1011 W. Fifth Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

                                   

    Please add us to your address book to ensure you continue receiving HomeAway emails.

                                   

                                   

     

    View our Privacy Statement | Contact Us  | Terms & Conditions

  • native7 Contributor 47 posts since
    Mar 16, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    117. Aug 29, 2012 6:22 PM (in response to victimofrentalfraud)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    OK, Well let me follow up with this NIGHTMARE that has been only compounded by the way it was handled

     

    It has been a total ordeal getting this straightened out and I am not sure that it is totally is. 

     

    First of all, my guests both called our office saying that they had been communicating by e-mail with someone named Bo in Spain and were ready to wire the money and fax contract.  Thankfully they called and thankfully I had been reading this  Thread so I thank you for starting it. 

     

    I next got a call from HomeAway Security Department Saying that they had received a call from a very Angry customer telling them about the scam and they had shut down all of my accounts (Many,many ads).  I was chastised for not contacting them right away and told that until I made the changes they wanted, they would not restore my accounts.  I explained that I had reported both incidents via e-mail and got NO REPLY.  It was not until a guest called that they responded. 

     

    I spent the next several hours setting up new e-mail accounts and changing all e-mail adresses to meet their specifications. 

     

    Next, to add insult to injury, I begin getting calls from my guests saying that HomeAway sent them an e-mail telling them they may have been scammed.  I was NOT TOLD this letter would be sent, nor was I sent a copy of it UNTIL I formally requested it.  This letter was sent to anyone who had e-mailed us for, probably, the past year or two.  Also went to some of the owner of properties that I manage.  Therefore, I was completely caught off guard by this onslaught of calls and was a bit unprepared.  Our office spent the rest of the day doing damage control. 

     

    I am actually furious that HomeAway is contacting MY customers without my permission and without even notifying me of their intentions to do this. God knows how much business this has/will cost me.

     

    As the day progressed, I was not receiving any inquiries and I normally get many each day.  I began sending test e-mails to my own listings and they were never delivered.  I got back on the phone and did my best to get it straightend out.  The young man was polite but seemed exhasperated and said that it looked as though the accounts had accidently been marked expired, and were inactive, even then they were all paid for the next year.And even though the first woman said they had been reactivated....He said he thought he got it straightened out.  As I write this, I still am not sure. 

     

    Why in the world would HomeAway not send us, THEIR CUSTOMERS, a letter warning us of this particular Scam...Had I not read this thread, I would have not been aware of it at all and not known what to watch for.  If my bank is hacked or a credit card company is hacked, they ALWAYS send a warning letter out.  It seems as though it is standard protocol. 

     

    I also asked if HomeAway was reporting this to the FBI and I was told NO, that it was not their problem it was ours....THEY ARE TAKING NO RESPONSIBILITY even though it looks as though it has been going on for months at least.  In fact, the first woman told me that if someone lost money due to this scam they would put it on US the customer and it would be our responsibility to remedey the situation.   They claim that it is our e-mails that are getting hacked and not their systems that are comprimised. 

     

    They have hundreds of THEIR CUSTOMERS that are being affected by this scam and they do not feel they should be working with the authorities to resolve it??? Are you kidding???

     

    I was told that I should report it.  Well I am only one case, they have hundreds all coming from the same few scammers...Who do you think the FBI would take more seriously???

     

    I will be reporting this if only to help the rest of our community....I encourage all of you to do so as well.  Most of all I hope HomeAway sees the light and reports this to the authorities and take the responsibility, at least, that this is all emmating from THEIR WEBSITES and affecting THEIR CUSTOMERS.

     

     

  • lce0606 Contributor 126 posts since
    Jan 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    118. Aug 29, 2012 6:35 PM (in response to native7)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Wow!!! Thank you very much for sharing your experience. Although I understand that HomeAway/VRBO are only a place for us to advertise our property, but I think that if their media is being used as a method for theft, they should become involved to help their advertisers. In addition, since we are the ones paying for their service, I believe their obligation is to us, the property owner, before those making inquiries. To have them send out negative correspondence to your customers, and potential customers, strikes me as something they could be sued over. We are their customers and, for you, there is potential loss of income from their actions that were not authorized by you. This just keeps getting worse instead of better. I hope that your sites are working again. If you want to post one of your property listings, I'd be happy to send a "test" inquiry.

  • Contributor 24 posts since
    Feb 24, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    119. Aug 29, 2012 7:26 PM (in response to lce0606)
    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

    Speaking on behalf of all those of us who made enquires on HomeAway for properties advertised on HomeAway by yourselves (the owners): Saying that HomeAway had an obligation more to the owners than to those making the inquiries is adding insult to injury for me who lost $3800 and the many others I know about who lost no less than $1700 up to and including a British gentleman who lost 5000 pounds.  All WE are asking for is that HomeAway post notices on the very first page on their website warning of the scam, and how to avoid it and what to look out for. (Something they are doing in a half-hearted way in the past couple of months----I was scammed back in February. HomeAway, by the way, feels that we bear 1/3 of the blame (not sure how we could have avoided this without the warning), the owners bear 1/3 of the blame and that they (HomeAway/VRBO)  share 1/3 of the blame.....  At least as far as mitigating the monetary restitution we inquirers are calling for.

     

    Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2012 18:35:43 -0500

    From: community@homeaway.com

    To: kat_e_b@msn.com

    Subject: Re: Scam - everyone should read this! - Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

                                                                                    Seek Advice. Get Answers. Optimize your Vacation Rental Business.

                                                                                    Re: Scam - everyone should read this!

     

     

        created by lce0606 in Scams - View the full discussion

     

     

     

    Wow!!! Thank you very much for sharing your experience. Although I understand that HomeAway/VRBO are only a place for us to advertise our property, but I think that if their media is being used as a method for theft, they should become involved to help their advertisers. In addition, since we are the ones paying for their service, I believe their obligation is to us, the property owner, before those making inquiries. To have them send out negative correspondence to your customers, and potential customers, strikes me as something they could be sued over. We are their customers and, for you, there is potential loss of income from their actions that were not authorized by you. This just keeps getting worse instead of better. I hope that your sites are working again. If you want to post one of your property listings, I'd be happy to send a "test" inquiry.

     

     

         Reply to this message by replying to this email -or- go to the message on Community

         Start a new discussion in Scams by email or at Community

                                                                                    © 2010 HomeAway.com Inc. 1011 W. Fifth Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

                                   

    Please add us to your address book to ensure you continue receiving HomeAway emails.

                                   

                                   

     

    View our Privacy Statement | Contact Us  | Terms & Conditions

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