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1527 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Jun 20, 2012 9:11 PM by info@stayattremblant.com RSS
New Member 1 posts since
Jun 20, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 22, 2012 4:08 PM

When do you know if you are being scammed?

I am trying to rent a vaction home in cape coral and all the information is the owners live in CANADA.  I am scared of driving 12hrs and there is not really a vacation home.  How do you know this is ligit or does homeaway.com secure the listings from the owners?

  • swiss-house Contributor 260 posts since
    Jul 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2012 7:18 PM (in response to marla.byrum)
    Re: When do you know if you are beign scammed?

    No system is foolproof, but the listings you see on HomeAway and VRBO are validated by HomeAway/VRBO staff to a pretty good degree.  More importantly, no scammer is going to invest money to pay for fake listing on HomeAway.  IT's EXPENSIVE to list a home here.  That's why nearly all the scams you hear about originate on Craigs List where there is no cost for scammers to list fake listings.  So if you found the listing on the HomeAway site, you can be 99% sure it's legit.

     

    Beyond that, a really good way to be sure you are dealing with the real owner and not someone who has hijacked an email address of some sort, is to look at the phone number that is on the HomeAway listing and call that.  By calling the number that's actually on the listing, and not jsut the number that might have been in an email you received, you can be sure that you are talking to the real owner, not someone who has faked an email.

     

    Those 2 steps above will cover you to a degree that you really should feel comfortable.  But like with everything else, if you are emailing, or even talking to an owner on the phone, and something sounds too good to be true, like a special rate, or bending the rules to allow a pet when the listing says no pets, or most obviously, saying a date is available when their on-line calendar says it is already booked - stop, drop, and roll away from the transaction. 

     

    Your fears are somewhat justified in this internet age, but with the steps above and some common sense, you can feel confident about planning a vacation that will create great memories that will last a lifetime.

  • info@stayattremblant.com Active Contributor 543 posts since
    Aug 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2012 9:11 PM (in response to marla.byrum)
    Re: When do you know if you are beign scammed?

    >>How do you know this is ligit or does homeaway.com secure the listings from the owners?

     

    Some things you can do:

    • Use google to find information on the owner.  For example, my picture is in my listing -- if you google my name, you'll easily find me on the web.  Pictures match: +1, no match: 0
    • Use google street view to compare the pictures in the listing with the pictures of the actual propery address.  Match? Yes: +1, No: -1 (ask owner why not)
    • Give the owner a phone call.  See if things check out when you talk to them: Yes: +1, No: (walk away)
    • Does the owner have some "local knowledge" of the desintation? : Yes: +1, No: -1
    • Did the owner's e-mail or phone call give you a sense of confidence? : Yes: +1, No: (walk away)
    • Do the listing reviews (if any) seem balanced, authored by different sources and legitimate?: Yes: 0, No: -1
    • Google the ower's e-mail address -- see if it's flagged in any scams. Yes: (walk away), No: 0
    • Advanced: Look at email headers to determine where the owner's e-mail originated from.  If they say they're in Canada and the e-mail originated from Canada: Yes: +1, No: -1
    • Look up the owner on LinkedIn.  Does the profile match?: Yes: +1, No: -1
    • Is the property listed in other popular vacation rental sites?: Yes,: +1, No: -1
    • Does the owner have their own personal website for their property?: Yes: +1, No: 0
    • Advanced: Does the "whois" information for the owner's website match with their name &/or other information? Yes +1, No: 0

     

    If you get enough +1's to meet your own confidence criteria, you're probably good to go!

    Use common sense judiciously.

     

    Have a great rental!!

    P.

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