5 Replies Latest reply: Oct 17, 2011 1:06 PM by debi RSS

    New rental fraud with credit cards

    New Member

      I wanted to warn homeowners of a new rental scam dealing with the use of credit cards.  When I was researching scams I couldn't find any that used credit cards, so this is a slight deviation of the money order/cashier's check one.  International inquiry where the "travel agent" wants a finder's fee but can't process credit cards.  They want me to process the credit card and after the money is in my account, wire transfer the small percentage to the travel agent.  Of course this seems legit but then they will do a "chargeback" on the credit card and the homeowner will be out the amount they wire transferred to the "travel agent".  There was no offer of "extra" payment.


      The e-mail was very convincing and it wasn't until a few days of correspondence that I found out the "travel agent" needed me to process the card and then transfer the funds.  The e-mail even had travel agent registration numbers and links to agencies.  When I tried to verify this agent thru them I could not validate them as legit.


      Also, if you process credit cards thru PayPal be warned.  If 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


      Here's the inquiry info:

      Dear Joe & Kelli,




      We would like to make reservation at your lovely rental vacation


      home/property on August 10-24, 2011 (14 consecutive nights) for our


      Japanese special and potential clients. Our clients are two couples (4


      person), about 50-60 years old and there are no children and pets.




      Yes, we are running an authorized and the most trustworthy travel &


      guide agent at Denpasar, Bali Island, ID. Before I do the reservation


      arrangements. Please answer our questions below;




      - Do you have space availability for that dates? If not, please notify


      that our clients vacation dates availability are flexible.


      - For most Internet simply reservation may our clients provide you their


      credit cards for the method of payment?


      - Do I get a commission as referral fees for this guests information


      from you? If yes, we propose you a little higher 12% commission on the


      total amount of their stay.


      - Reason of visit is pleasure, tourism and do social activities.


      - Can maid, cleaning and catering service be booked with you as


      additional services?


      - If you could serve limousine airport-pick up service. Please let me


      know the additional cost but it is fine when you could not serve


      limousine airport-pick up service. Do you have a good advice for renting


      a car?


      - May I ask for references from your past renters I will forward to my


      clients? This is just an optional request.




      And our company always suggest our clients to pay 100% deposit in


      advance (full payment) to any properties we are looking for, not just


      30-50% payment in advance. So there's no need to balance the remainder


      upon their arrival. We also explained them this would be non-refundable


      funds when they'll make any cancellation for doing 100% payment in






      I also have read an American traveling article and they gave me a good


      advice like state below so I'm always informing this good advice to all


      of our clients.




      "Travel Tip: Be smart when you pay. Pay with credit cards when possible.


      Cash, checks, PayPal and bank wire transfers are much more difficult to


      recover. NEVER wire monies via Western Union, MoneyGram or instant wire


      transfer services."




      By the way, I always have bad phone connection when I tried to reach you


      so I assumed electronic mail is best, fastest and cheap way to make all


      communication around the world. In addition, we would like to show you a


      travel itinerary provided by the airline, that our guest is confirmed to


      travel on the dates requested.




      So please recalculate the total payment with your best price include


      tax, damage/security deposit & cleaning service also our 12% commission


      will be. I hope you understand our integrity mission and appreciate our


      intentions to do honorable and ethical business. Peace be with you and


      your preciousness underlings.

        • New rental fraud with credit cards
          Active Contributor

          I would have deleted it... smacks of fraud... the ending is classic - peace be with you.....I could answer that but I think it would be removed pretty quick!


          No never ever answer any email like this - if it is a genuine enquiry they will come back to you... some of the requests are ludicrous on this  - the reference one is a joke, can't they read reviews then?!!!


          Thank you for sharing it with us though - someone could get caught out easily...crafty beggars!

          • New rental fraud with credit cards
            New Member

            thanks for sharing this info. as i also received a similar request but I am not in the habit of paying travel agents their commission in advance of their guest arrival so they did not bother sending me their guest which I realised was a hoax/scam...

            • Re: New rental fraud with credit cards
              anja Senior Contributor

              Ugh....so tiresome.  I get so many of these every week.  I would have deleted that  one in  a nano second.  Seems like classic fraud.  In any case, I NEVER deal with a third party claiming to have clients wanting to rent my home.  I will ONLY deal directly with the renter.  I do not want agents of any kind in between me and the renter.

                • Re: New rental fraud with credit cards
                  Active Contributor

                  I've had a rash of 'strange' requests - but the scammers are getting better so the 1 or 2 I've not been 100% sure about I've answered using a spare not used much email box and no links on it, then finishing along the lines of - if this is a genuine enquiry I am sure you will get back to me... surprise surprise I hear no more...but I'm at peace as I have answered

                • Re: New rental fraud with credit cards

                  Thanks to someone else in the forum, I was redirected here after posting almost the exactly worded inquiry, complete with 'preciousness underlings'!  I'm relieved to find it is a scam and saved myself tons of work.  I was prepared to check the IATAN number and the websites listed (which I went to long enough to find they are legit.)  What a lot of work to go through for a scam, and unusual in my experience.  Time to sharpen the sensors again!