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27614 Views 49 Replies Latest reply: Sep 6, 2013 2:01 PM by jan.stevens RSS
New Member 1 posts since
Mar 8, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 8, 2011 9:45 AM

Rental Fraud

Hello.  I wanted to make others aware of an action of fraud.  Like others, the grammar was poor.  It was a woman claiming she and her husband were coming on vacation from the Ukraine.  She apologized for her poor English and even called to apologize as well, but also to encourage me to cash the money grams that were coming to me; in excess of the rental agreement (of course) and to wire the remaining to her travel agent.  She even gave me addresses of where to find a Western Union in my city.  She created a warm relationship via email, so just be aware.  It's good to be brief and non-attached to potential clients. 

  • New Member 5 posts since
    Mar 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 9, 2011 1:02 PM (in response to joshua)
    Rental Fraud

    My question is what if as an owner, one discovers that ther occupants of your property are college kids on spring break and an adult set it p for them.  What does one do?  Call the cops?

    • New Member 20 posts since
      Mar 11, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Mar 11, 2011 5:43 PM (in response to robbie)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      We have a clause in our contract which stipulates a minimum rental age and that the renter or spouse/partner is responsible for the conduct of any and all guests.  We also have an eviction clause.  Given all of that, we've also never had that sort of experience...maybe it's our area...maybe the rate...who knows?  You do need to put a minimum age in the contract, else you'll be hosting lots of college parties, from the sound of things.  Good luck!

      • New Member 5 posts since
        Mar 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Mar 11, 2011 6:32 PM (in response to jvan)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        Thank you

        • Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 10, 2012 3:54 PM (in response to robbie)
          Re: Rental Fraud

          Robbie:

           

          If you do not have a minimum age clause in your contract and you signed it and accepted them as guests, you must comply with the rental. Just make sure you have a security deposit to cover damages.

           

          I always require the guest to take the PDP insurance if I am have doubts about the guest. I will even pay for the insurance if necessary, since no deposit (typically $500 or less) can cover significant damages.


  • New Member 20 posts since
    Mar 11, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 11, 2011 5:47 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    We've rented to overseas clients before, mostly the UK and a couple from Spain.  We handled it by bank wire.  I wouldn't even consider other methods, such as Paypal, Western Union, etc., as the money can be simply due to stories like this.  A SWIFT transfer guarantees the funds are in your account, same as cash, and the sender bears the SWIFT fee.  Almost any bank in the world can SWIFT money to a US account.

  • New Member 21 posts since
    Mar 2, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 11, 2011 6:30 PM (in response to joshua)
    Rental Fraud

    I guess we all have our own management style, but firmly believe that one of the reasons i have so many renters and referrals from renters to their friends is because i always make a point of developing a personal relationship with my potential renters.  I find they appreciate it quite a bit and it also gives me a chance to get to know people a little better.   The situation you describe above is a good lesson learned and requires caution, but is not good busines.  IMO only.

  • New Member 21 posts since
    Mar 2, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2011 5:45 PM (in response to joshua)
    Rental Fraud

    We all have an opinion on this and we are all entitled to our own, but for those of you who are new to this business, please listen to mine:  It is a very bad idea to brief and non-attached to your customers.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Mar 24, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 25, 2011 3:57 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    I just received a reply from a potential renter in the Ukraine who wants to send me his deposit via his accountant.  I am glad that I checked this discussion, because I felt right away that something wasn't right. Just watch out for him and the line that he is working on a Project for his company in the Ukraine.

  • Contributor 45 posts since
    Mar 17, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 24, 2011 8:25 PM (in response to joshua)
    Rental Fraud

    A question for naplesflrent, with apologies: i'm afraid I have no idea what you mean in saying "It is a very bad idea to brief and non-attached to your customers."

     

    I would like to understand,  If possible, pls. clarify?  Thank you--

    • New Member 21 posts since
      Mar 2, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Mar 24, 2011 8:33 PM (in response to paul.crockett)
      Rental Fraud

      Sorry Paul,  My typing cant keep up with my brain it seems.  to clarify:  a few people in this thread have espoused that it is best to be brief and non-attached with your customers.  In other words, answer their questions, but dont get personal with them or try to get to know them.  Eveidently the people who have said this have had experiences where people have been very good con men.  It is my opinion and experience that the best way to understand a person is to get to know them through phone calls and emails and try to get them to open up to you in a personal manner.  You can learn a great deal about a person in doing so.  I also find that my renters (customers) really appreciate it when i get "personal" with them and i am very friendly and concerned with their needs and desires.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Mar 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 25, 2011 3:51 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Thanks so much for this article.  I had a similar experience with a couple who initially did not mention they were overseas but it soon became apparent as the UK phone number was emailed to me.  They even mailed a check, which when I called the bank to verify funds, found it was a forgery and was told by the bank that they had received similar calls from about 30 other people!  The boldness of these scammers are amazing...

     

    Just as an FYI, it was from a woman and her email headers indicated she was in the Asia Pacific area.  The UK phone number is the typical ones used for the Nigerian scams where the UK number is just used as a forwarding service to another phone number somewhere in the world.  Please be on the lookout for these types of scams.

  • terirusso Contributor 101 posts since
    Mar 30, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 6, 2011 11:20 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    There is also a scam from Ireland. I had a woman claiming to be from County Cork Ireland contact me saying that her family would be vacationing in NJ and would love to rent my home. Asking questions about wiring money and some other things I did not really understand, also about the payments being in excess of the amount of rent, and sending the "balance" to a travel agent. We mostly have pretty local, tri-state renters that pay by check.  As naplesrent stated, getting "personal" can pay off. I was very excited, as my grandmother was from County Cork. I discussed the lease, deposit and security payments and finished by telling her that I would love to meet her in person while she was here, telling her about my grandmothers home town. Guess that put up the red flag for her as I never heard from her again.

  • sfvacationhut Community All-Star 643 posts since
    Dec 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 24, 2011 3:02 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Great discussion here.

    I highly recomend both of these web sites for more information.

     

    fakechecks.org

     

    scamwarners.com

     

    Both of these web sites describe exactly how these international scams work.

     

    I had no idea that these scams even existed before starting the vacation rental.

     

    I especially recommend watching the VIDEOS at fakechecks.org.  The videos provide brief testimonials by real people (not actors) who were scammed because of foreign cashier's checks.

     

    It's heartbreaking and moving to watch.  It helped us a lot, because we were in the middle of dealing with some people who said they were from France and that they wanted to send us traveler's cheques.  We thought it was weird, but we were going to go along with it ... the people seemed so nice over the phone.  But ... after reading the info on the web sites above ... fakechecks.org and scamwarners.com .... our red flags went up.  We made a policy that we will not accept any foreign checks or traveler's cheques or money orders, etc.  We do accept credit cards and PayPal, and all of our other international travelers have had no problem paying with one of those two methods.  When we contacted the supposedly French couple, letting them know that we would only accept PayPal or Credit Card ... we never heard back from them again.  Interestingly, the had kept us strung along for six weeks before that, always saying that they were about to send the travelers' cheques, etc.  It was very strange.

     

    Anyway, I'm glad we avoided that ... thanks to the info we received from the links above, as well as input from our neighbor who also has a vacation rental.  She is the one who told about those links.  She has been operating a vacation rental for 10 years and has run into this type of scam operation many times during that period.

     

    These links are very informative and eye opening. Especially the videos at fakechecks.org.

    Here they are again.

     

    fakechecks.org

     

    scamwarners.com

    .

    • New Member 2 posts since
      Apr 24, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Apr 24, 2011 4:36 PM (in response to sfvacationhut)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      I noticed that you use PayPal and I have been a victim or their lack of protection.  I wanted to warn you to let you know that they will not protect you.  If a renter disputes, PayPal will return their money and you will be out.  See below:

       

      VRBO customers are having problems because Paypal specifically says their chargeback program will not cover rental properties (only tangible items).  If the renter disputes the charges then paypal will send the money back to the renter every time.  Please see paypal’s own policy-  https://cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/?cmd=_render-content&content_ID=security/seller_protection_learn_more

       

      Also, I'm currently posting info on a new scam that uses a credit card.  It's not limited to the checks anymore.

      • sfvacationhut Community All-Star 643 posts since
        Dec 31, 2010
        Currently Being Moderated
        Apr 24, 2011 5:33 PM (in response to kktrent)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        Good to know!  I'll be looking forward to reading your info about the credit card scams.

         

        I had read PayPal's info about not being so protective.  I believe there was an article that HomeAway had posted about this, some time back?  I think the main time we would have a problem would be if someone were to cancel beyond the cancellation deadline.  If we didn't refund them their money, I think we'd be pretty safe if they had paid with credit card.    They could still do a chargeback, but when the credit card company investigates it, they will see that the customer signed the cancellation policy, so hopefully everything will be okay, and they will decide the case in our favor.

         

        But if they had paid with PayPal, and they complain, we'd probably lose their money. Because like you say, PayPal is not so good about taking "our side" when they send us money.  If that happened ....it wouldn't be the end of the world .... we could still potentially re-book it ... or even if we didn't ... we love it when no one is there because it's so nice to have the whole place to ourselves instead of having to share our house with a renter. 

         

        I can't imagine anyone complaining, after staying at our place, since everyone loves it so much.    Unless they were a total scam artist!  But one would think that would happen only once in a very blue moon.

         

        But you know what ... thanks for reminding me about the PayPal thing.   Probably if it's a really big reservation, like someone booking for a whole month .... I should NOT accept PayPal.  In that case, it would be better to take credit card only ... . or personal check, if they are domestic (not international), and if they provide the money soon enough, such that the check has plenty of time to clear.   (As long as it is domestic, I believe 2 weeks is enough time to be sure.)

      • sfvacationhut Community All-Star 643 posts since
        Dec 31, 2010
        Currently Being Moderated
        Apr 24, 2011 5:31 PM (in response to kktrent)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        Also for checks ... .sometimes it takes 6 to 8 weeks, especially for international transactions, before the bank finds out that the check was fraudulent.  So .... just because you deposited the check, and the bank "accepted" it ... you cannot assume that you have the money and everything is okay. I never knew that before.

         

        If it turns out the check is fraudulent, the bank will reverse the transaction, and the money will NO LONGER be in your bank account.  On top of that, you will be responsible for any transaction fees / bank charges, etc.

         

        I was also surprised to learn that the person who CASHES the check, not the person who wrote the check, is the one who is held responsible for all the bank fees, etc. When it's an international transaction, there is no way for our police / law enforcement to go after the person who wrote the check, no one knows who they really are. Since we are the one who trusted this other person enough to receive the check and try to cash it, the bank holds us responsible.  I believe this is also true for domestic cases, although for domestic cases, sometimes the police can find the criminals and track them down.  But the bank will still hold you (the person who cashed the check) responsible for the fees. 

         

        I learned about all this stuff from those links.  So I highly recommend that people take a look.

         

        fakechecks.org

         

        scamwarners.com

        .

      • New Member 2 posts since
        Dec 1, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Dec 1, 2011 2:03 AM (in response to kktrent)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        I have actually had Paypal fight and win for me a few times and everything came down to the Rental Agreement that was signed by the guest.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2011 8:34 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    I can usually spot the poor grammar.  Also they emphasized that they would pay by " US check".  This is a HUGE RED FLAG.  I am thinking that I will require they pay the deposit via western union and see how they respond. 

  • New Member 3 posts since
    May 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2011 2:48 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    I have just had my first suspicious renter.  He said he was a honeymooner and that his company would be paying his expenses.I repeatedly requested his contact info (phone #'s and mailing address) and never received it.  I sent him the lease, deleating the exact location/address of our property, 2 different ways (pdf and attachement).  not a word back.  when i inquired via email if he was still interested...I got a duplicate email requesting the lease!!  (i save ALL the emails i receive and send).  I emailed and told him I was unable to rent to him and why.  have not heard a word from him since!

     

    I do develop a rapport with my renters.  VRBO stresses the importance of this if you are to see success in finalizing rentals with inquiries.  I always respond quickly and ask lots of questions.  we have a clause in our lease regarding parties!  none allowed.  I had a request for a bachelor party!!  percentage wise we have had great renters...got to keep your radar on all the time tho.  thanks for starting this discussion

    • gotomike Contributor 38 posts since
      Mar 30, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 29, 2011 3:11 PM (in response to iluvmaine)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      For those few out there who are unaware of what a scammer sends, here is a fine example of one I received...

      Have a good laugh at the handling of the English language - a dead giveaway....

      I just got the following from a fellow who added his phone number at the bottom. I have not called back nor followed through with his typical absurd requests. Note how 'muddy' it becomes at the end. The poor Lad probably got all excited at the prospect of getting a big check from me!!! But instead I reported his emails to the Internet Crime Reporting Agency and to the FBI:

       

      -----------------------Initial inquiry May 8, 2011---------------------------

      Sir/Madam

         We will need accommodation for six adults(four male & two

         female)coming to your place on a visit. We would require 3 "double

         rooms" for the six guest.

         Arrival/Check in: 14th of July, 2011.

         Departure/Check out: is 28th July, 2011.

         Number of Weeks; 2 weeks

         Number of nights; 14 nights.

         What is the total cost.............?Euros, Pounds or USD

         Please confirm if you have accommodation on the stipulated dates and

         get back to me with the total cost as soon as possible. Do calculate

         the total cost yourself while replying to this mail, please.

       

         Regards,

         Lloyd  XXXXX

      +44702XXXXXXX

      +44702XXXXXXX

       

      ------------------------Follow up offer May 11, 2011---------------------------

      Greetings,

       

      We acknowledge the receipt of your response. I wish to inform you

      that we have approved the stay in your facility for the dates

      mentioned, Above all, the price quotation is well accepted by us and

      as such, we would want to make a part deposit payment of $ 2,000 with

      a credit card to enable you hold the reservation for us. 

         However, I am going to send you the Credit Card Information that

      will cover the cost of their accommodation, and the necessary

      arrangement for tour clients. Moreover, I was able to make an

      arrangement with a  pre-paid flight ticketing/transportation

      consultant that will provide  our clients with cars,take care of their

      Luggage,Other transportation logistics before, during and after their

      stay in the  hotel.So in order not to share the credit card

      information with a third party, I have decided that only one person

      will have to handle the credit card information.

         Summarily, I would send to you the credit card information as soon

      as I hear back from you. Once you receive the credit card, this is

      exactly what you are required to do;

         1.  Charge a total of $ 10,000  from it.

         2.  Deduct $ 2,000  for the deposit cost of your services

         3.  Then you will send the balance of $ 8,000  to the Flight

      ticketing/transportation consultant .

         Finally, I would require your full contact for record purposes.

         (1) Your hotel full name/address

         (2) Name of the Manager/Owner

         (3) Hotel's telephone and fax numbers

         Please I just need this because I would have some important issues

      to discuss with any of them owing to what I would need them to do

      personally for us. It is very important.

         NB: Balance of your payment will be paid cash upon arrival by the guests.

         Kind Regards, 

       

      Lloyd  XXXXX

       

      +44702XXXXXXX

      +44702XXXXXXX

      • northern1 New Member 7 posts since
        Sep 14, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 14, 2012 4:35 PM (in response to gotomike)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        Just want to point out that UK numbers starting with 070 or 70 are redirects

         

        Uk country code 44 then the first numbers either starts with 70 or 070 are very dangerous as they redirect numbers that can be answered anywhere in the world.

         

        Other number variations they try to hide this

         

        +44 70 123 45678

        +447 012 345678

        +440 70123 45678

        7 (0) 123 45678

         

        You may be able to see other variations but you get the point.

         

        Should you receive a number such as this I would say it would be 100% scam

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Jul 21, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 21, 2011 11:42 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Here's one that I received after some initial email exchanges and agreement on terms.   This person claimed that they were going to rent our place for their honeymoon and that their company was going to pay their expenses (just like in the above post).  When I asked them for personal information - name and how they were going to travel to our place (on an island) - they did not respond.  But they did send me this:

     

    "Hello, Good morning to you and I am glad to inform you that the payment has been mailed to you and will get to you soon, however, there is a mistake on the check, our feeding and traveling expenses was included in the check for our booking. This was suppose to come in a different check and not in the one for our booking, but since it has been sent, just deduct he full cost of our booking and extra $100 for your running around and kindly get the remaining money and send to our traveling agent using western union money transfer so that we can make all necessary things we need to do wit pending the time of our arrival, I hope you understand this and we can be able to depend on you, we can't wait to be there, My regards to all the members of your family.Thanks and stay blessed."

     

    This is for a booking coming up in a few weeks.

     

    Thanks to the postings above, I was able to spot it as fraud.

     

    -Slim

  • linda.pasquinucci New Member 1 posts since
    Sep 16, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 20, 2011 6:24 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    I just want to make homeowners aware that a person named Joe XXXX is responding to ads on vacationrentals.com. He does not make it known that he is outside the U.S. and in the Ukraine until money grams are sent from Florida. He says he wants to rent a unit and then emails that his secretary sent too much money.When the fee arrives it is in money grams. He then wants the money grams to be deposited into your ATM and have the additional money over the rental fee sent to his travel agent. His instructions are to go to Western Union and have the money sent to an address in the Ukraine. He even suggests you keep a little additional money to cover your fees. THE MONEY GRAMS ARE COUNTERFEIT.

    Other names he uses in the transaction are Mark XXX and Jackie XXX.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Sep 28, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 28, 2011 1:16 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Here is another rental fraud to be aware of in Surfside Beach, South CarolinaI was approached last spring for a year long rental. I agreed and amortized what I would have made doing weekly summer rentals plus a winter renter and determined a monthly rental.......easy right, everyone wins. Except.......even with a lease, they bailed out after summer with lies about getting a divorce blah blah blah. They enjoyed a summer beach house at 1/4 the standard rate. I am sending them to collections but we all know where  that is going to go. I have the feeling they have done this before and will do it again-they are likely in an inland cheap rental now but will be prowling for another victim at the end of the 6 month lease they will likely honor at a much cheaper rent..

     

    BEWARE...........I would be thrilled to verify a name if you get approached for such a deal

    • New Member 5 posts since
      Mar 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 29, 2011 3:09 PM (in response to surfsidebeach)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      thanks.  scams abound

      • terirusso Contributor 101 posts since
        Mar 30, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 28, 2011 6:31 PM (in response to robbie)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        I am in NJ and had a similar request. I would normally tell them that I was not interested right off the bat as we use our house for the month of July, but they said their start dates were flexible, wanted to move in in August and they would be willing to leave in July of the following summer. Like Robbie I figured out what I got in rent in the high, and mid season and used my multi month winter rate for the low season, added it all up, subtracted the month of July and divided it by 11 months to come up with a rate for the year. When I told them that I would need what would equal the month of August in weeks up front, aprox $10,000 and the balance would be in much lower monthly rental payments of $1500/month, they questioned why I would need so much up front. I explained that I needed to be sure that if they backed out at the last minute I would have August rents covered, and if any thing happened and they changed their mind, they would get the deposit back if I could fill in the time. If I couldn't fill in the whole month, I would refund the portion that I did cover. They also questioned why I would need a security deposit equaling a month and a half of the prorated rent, $3400. I told them that was standard on a long term lease. They only wanted to put up the weekly $400 security deposit. When they kept negotiating, I suggested they call my neighbor who had an empty apartment, and it would be cheaper anyway because he wanted yearly renters and not vacation renters. They insisted they wanted my house, which I found strange. I found out later that they had contacted other owners. The other owners basically told them the same thing I did, I didn't understand what they were trying to do until I read your post.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Sep 29, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 29, 2011 3:09 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    This one raised a red flag.  I am considering it fraudulent.  Also, I checked my site meter on my website.  There were no visitors from Ukraine.  This adddress has been "googled" for fraud several times, and this street does not exist on Google Maps:

     

    Hello

      Thanks for the updated information.

      We are okay with the accommodation and cost of the room.I would also

      like to confirm  the reservation on the following information:

      - Mr XXX & mrs  XXX

      XXX  Oboronoya , 89200 kiev, Ukraine.

      Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone, I

      have arrange for payment inform of check 

      Please do forward me the following details for payment

      FULL NAME

      BILLING ADDRESS

      CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER

      Hope to hear from you soon

      Regards

    mrs  XXX

     

    -this post has been edited to remove exact names and addresses

    • deb.hawkinshouin Contributor 36 posts since
      May 21, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 29, 2011 2:09 PM (in response to villasulmare)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      Thank you for reporting this. I received the exact same thing today and I thought too that it was a fraud but now I know for sure!

    • New Member 1 posts since
      Dec 10, 2010
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 17, 2011 11:30 AM (in response to villasulmare)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      I always reply to these with availability information, but I also include a note that essentially says that a) we do accept checks, but b) due to problems with online criminals, we do not refund any money from a check until we have verified that the check is good and the funds have cleared.

       

      Almost all such inquiries are fraudulent, and this reponse discourages them from persuing their criminal activities.

       

      But I do get legitimate inquires from other countries that might pay by check, so if they are legit, I could still get the booking.

       

      Doug Coates

    • jan.stevens Community All-Star 251 posts since
      Aug 30, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 6, 2013 2:01 PM (in response to villasulmare)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      Just received this email from the same people most likely. Names were changed a bit but clearly the scammers.  This scam is going around once again.

       

      The new scam name is Marina Savateeva. Same text in email which is the give away. I am amazed that they actually use the Ukraine address over and over.

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Feb 3, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 3, 2012 3:31 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Hi Veteran Rental Owners:

     

         I was gullable, and fell for the 3 money oders for $985 each, take your rental out and forward the rest to my travel agent via Western Union. I just lost about $1900. Wish I had seen this string of info before I did that. Lesson learned, the hard way.

     

    Merrie

    • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
      Feb 10, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 3, 2012 7:36 PM (in response to granny)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      So sorry about your experience.  It particularly burns owners up because there are so many good ones out there who run wonderful, legitimate businesses! Hope this won't dissuade you from attempting a VR again!

      • New Member 3 posts since
        Feb 3, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 3, 2012 8:21 PM (in response to marym)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        I AM the owner, I lost the money to a scam where the potential renter said she was in Ireland, was sending the money via money order. Then she said her travel agent made a mistake and sent all the money to me (3 money orders) and would I "kindly" cash them, take out the money for the rental, and send the rest to her travel agent Natasha Collins at Velco Travel in Manila, Philippines. What was I thinking? That a money order is money! They came back as altered/fraudulent. My mistake for being a trusting idiot. I will only be accepting money via VRBO in the future.

        • marym Active Contributor 463 posts since
          Feb 10, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 4, 2012 6:16 AM (in response to granny)
          Re: Rental Fraud

          Oh wow - I misread that one.  As you can see from this thread AND from your experience, any time they want $$ back, it's not good!  I've had people send me money orders too, and I like you (and up until now) always thought of them as "cash".  I don't mind accepting them if that's how people want to pay  - I guess what I've learned from your post is that they have characteristics of a personal check...you have to wait until they're actually honored.

          • New Member 3 posts since
            Feb 3, 2012
            Currently Being Moderated
            Sep 21, 2012 12:41 PM (in response to marym)
            Re: Rental Fraud

            Yes, my husband and I went through the process of building the second home in northern AZ on a shoestring, the loss of income when the recession hit, and struggled very hard to make the payments on the home, along with the payment on our residence. We decided to sell our residence, help our son and his family who lost everything, and live in a 14x 50 mfg home on the property we helped them buy, so that we could all survive this wretched economy. We put our second home on VRBO to help with the payments and taxes, never expecting to be victimized this way. We are still struggling for money, and when I saw that those checks returned, I was just sickened.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Feb 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 5, 2012 8:38 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Another fraudulent activity of renters is the deliberate passing of "bad checks". Even after you have established a relationship with folks, had numerous email and telephone conversations with them, there's nothing stopping them from sending you a check that gets returned AFTER or DURING their stay. EVEN if they have sent you prior checks that were good and/or for larger sums. It is you who will be stuck with the fees in the event the check is returned. I had stopped using Telecheck because 90% or more of our guests use credit cards and we basically had no actual check volume, but I'm thinking it would be best policy to use a service such as theirs every time. I think some folks feel that they can get away with this activity because some amounts are perhaps a "nuisance" and not worth the owners persuing payment so they try it. Completely rude!

    • doug.coates New Member 19 posts since
      Jun 2, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 5, 2012 10:15 AM (in response to maisouivilla)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      There is an easy solution for this.  98% of my guests book with credit cards, but checks and occasionally cash are used. But I don't accept checks for bookings that are less than 3 weeks away.  If someone wants to do a last minute booking I require credit cards or cash for that booking. 

      • Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 10, 2012 4:00 PM (in response to doug.coates)
        Re: Rental Fraud

        NEVER NEVER NEVER ACCEPT OVERPAYMENTS

         

        It can be one of three things:

        1. Scam to take your money from your bank
        2. Money laundering
        3. Someone stealing from the company they work for and you become an accomplice
        4. An honest mistake (0.0001%)

         

        Stay away from trouble!!!


  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 22, 2012 12:32 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Thanks to you and the Homeaway Community for sharing.  Looks like this SCAM letter is making the rounds again...

    Hello

     

    Thanks for the updated information.

    We are okay with the accommodation and cost .

    we would also like to confirm  the reservation on the following information:

     

    - Mrs  Klara Solovieva

     

    3/54 Kamorova, 84219 kiev, Ukraine.

     

    Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone, I have arrange for payment inform of check

     

    Please do forward me the following details for payment

    FULL NAME

    BILLING ADDRESS

    CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER

     

    Hope to hear from you soon

     

    Regards

     

    Klara Solovieva

     

  • New Member 3 posts since
    Jun 13, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 13, 2012 8:35 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    The lady from Ukraine is still at it.  Now she's Margarita.  We got the scam where she was going to send us twice the amount and have us send the rest to her travel agent.  We thought about stringing her along, but after reading all of your posts, decided to nip it in the bud.  Thank you all for posting your experience!

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Jun 1, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 14, 2012 7:32 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Thank you all for sharing scam info. 

     

    We received the same email request today from the woman claiming to be from the Ukraine and wanting us to accept payment by check. 

     

     

    Hello

         

    Thanks for the updated information.

    We are okay with the accommodation and cost .

    we would also like to confirm  the reservation on the following information:

      

      - Mrs Seda Stepanyan

           

        145A Shapaiva street, 81109 kiev, Ukraine.

         

        Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone, I have arrange for payment inform of check

        

     

        Please do forward me the following details for payment

         

         

        FULL NAME

        BILLING ADDRESS

        CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER

         

         

        Hope to hear from you soon

         

        Regards

     

      Seda Stepanyan

  • twobitrentals Community All-Star 1,338 posts since
    Aug 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2012 8:51 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    I simply tell folks that they have to pay through RM. OR, I will allow them to pay through paypal. BUT, event then, I don't issue codes for the doors until the funds have hit my account. I will NEVER "refund" from a check that was an overpayment.....to those that accept checks...I would say, just issue another check for the correct amount.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Sep 17, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2012 9:10 AM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    We have received multiple scam requests from people with bogus numbers. My experience with credit cards is alos not 100% secure - in order to be sure that the payment is approved you need to call to a service centre. We had a last minute booking a few months ago - we received an approval number and then a few days later we received notice the amount was still pending. It took two weeks to resolve and we had to resort to "getting tough" with the renters.

    In the instance of someone wanting a long term rental through a high season period into a low season - I always make the client pay up front the value of the high season period . That way if the client leaves at the end of the high season without paying the year you have at least received the amount due .

     

    Unfortunately with the web come all the crooks.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Oct 21, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 21, 2012 9:01 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Same set-up with an overpay in the rental amount.  I am new to this and responded that I needed a signed rental agreement with the check.  Check arrives with no rental agreement.  Haven't heard another word from her.  But, the whole situation seemed realistic at the beginning..so BEWARE!!

    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 21, 2012 10:11 PM (in response to chattyvicki)
      Re: Rental Fraud

      Before you deposit the check, see where the check is from. It should match the name of the person renting. Check out the article I wrote

      Chronology of a Scam

       

      at http://community.homeaway.com/message/36041#36041

       

      I followed several scammers, got their checks, all from real companies but accounts closed as they were aware of being picked as a victim. I called each company to ensure the check was a fraud before deciding to deposit them. I have 6 fake checks from these people, from churches, water companies, universities, etc.

       

      I am not saying everyone who pays by check is a scammer, but if you were overpaid and they are pressuring you to send the difference back, minus a "convenience fee", right after you get the check, 99.99% probability it is a fraud.

       

      If it is for the right amount, sender and renter's name is the same, letter came from the same mailing address as guest, then it is probably real.

       

      Just be on your guard at all times.

       

      Happy renting,

       

      Gabriel

      http://www.playanica.com

       

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Dec 12, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 12, 2012 2:47 PM (in response to joshua)
    Re: Rental Fraud

    Hi,

     

    Also, got the same fraudelant email from someone in the Ukraine. 

     

    Here is what the email says...beware of these guys...I told them I would rip up their check and would not be able to help them. 

     

     

     

    Good afternoon

    I am sorry for all the delay in payment .

    There was a mix up in the payment sent to you ,I was suppose to receive two separate payment one for you and the other for my traveling agent But all payments was issued in your name and sent .

    I tried to correct this but it was in vain as i was ask to resolve the problem myself. It would have to go through a very long process to change this error . Please I don't know what to do.

    I have been advised me to contact you since these checks where issued in your name , so you should be able to clear them into your account. As soon as you have the checks cleared to your account you are to deduct your rent and remit the balance to my travel agent Please do let me know how you can help on this issue .

     

    Thanks


     

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