Do you ever get a funny feeling about a potential renter after receiving their inquiry or talking to them on the phone?
If a red flag goes off – even a tiny one - it's time to do a little investigating. And lucky for you, there is no need to hire Magnum PI to do the leg work for you these days. With the World Wide Web at your fingertips, you can glean some information about your prospective renters before accepting a booking.
- By learning how to spot a scam, you can determine whether an inquiry is from a legitimate person or exhibits too many of the telltale signs. Better safe than sorry if you have a suspicion!
- Do a basic Google search. Search for their name in quotation marks: “John Smith.” If the name is very common, try to narrow it down with the information you have on hand, like the city and state. You can also search for a renter’s phone number and e-mail address, post booking. (Type in the phone number without the parentheses around the area code for the best results. If nothing shows up for the e-mail address, search for the part before the @ symbol.)
- Find online social networking profile(s) for potential guests. Although we don’t suggest becoming a “friend” of every prospective renter you encounter, you might be able to learn some information from their personal profiles (depending on the privacy settings they have selected). LinkedIn profiles are typically public, unlike a lot of Facebook profiles. Because LinkedIn is a professional networking site, you may be able to cross-reference job titles if the renter mentioned it in his/her e-mail.
If your searches don't turn up any results, don't immediately assume that the renter is not who they say they are. You might have trouble finding a renter if they have all their information locked down. This investigatory process has yet to be perfected, so if you have techniques for finding the skinny on potential renters, please send them our way.
*Last Updated April 11, 2018
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