26 Replies Latest reply: Mar 16, 2014 1:14 PM by carol Branched from an earlier discussion. RSS

    VRBO Scam Warning Email


      VRBO seems to have locked us out of posting on the community website this evening, so I am going to try to post by sending this email.  Hope it works!I just received this URGENT NOTIFICATION email from homeaway/VRBO.  I did NOT receive the scam email they refer to.  It would be extremely helpful to know which owners DID receive the scam email in order to determine how the scammers were able to get these owners' email addresses.  For example, do you use Reservation Manager/VRBO's payment system (I do not)?  The scammers are currently not scamming all owners, so our information must not be in the particular database of owners' email addresses that are being scammed.  Owners, please respond with you may have in common if you/did not receive the scam email.  Let's figure this out once and for all.  I'm tired of VRBO denying any responsibility for this and for continuing to suggest that we use Reservation Manager, etc. in order to protect us, when it could be those that do are the ones being scammed.  Please respond to this post with your information, scammed/not scammed, if you use Reservation Manager/don't use, and any other details related to receiving the scam email/or not.  Thank you!   Here's the "real" HomeAway email I just received:  Urgent Notification: Beware of new online scam You need to be aware of a new phishing scam targeting owners and property managers who advertise on HomeAway. Earlier today, our Security team discovered an unauthorized email notification - claiming to be from HomeAway - to our advertisers offering a free anti-hacking software. This email is not from HomeAway. If you receive this email, please do not click on any of the links in it. HomeAway does not have any such software, and would never ask you to download software from an email.


      If you click on any link in the email, unauthorized software will be downloaded onto your computer that could allow someone other than you to take control of your computer. This will give the criminal who sent the email the ability to monitor your activity, including the ability to log in to accounts you access online, including your HomeAway account, etc.If you clicked on any link in this email, and believe you may have installed this unauthorized software, please contact HomeAway's Customer Support Team online or by phone at 877-228-3145.


      What to look for Details on the version of the fake email we discovered are as follows:  From: HomeAway (security@homeaway.com)

      Subject: Now 100% HomeAway account protection from hackersFake email example:


      If you receive this email, please do not click the links within it. If you clicked on any link in this email, and believe you may have installed this unauthorized software, please contact HomeAway's Customer Support Team online or by phone at 877-228-3145.

      Learn how to protect your online accounts from identity theft

      Recently, we sent an email explaining how to protect yourself from online identity theft and phishers, with these recommendations:  Never provide personal information to anyone through email communication.  Always access your email from the official login page of your email service provider.  Never reply or click on a suspicious email or webpage. HomeAway will not send you emails that request you to download software from the email. Look for clues that the email is official: contains normal brand heading, no typos or errors, and never asks for personal information via email.  To access your owner dashboard, only log in to our official websites. To confirm it's an official website, make sure the URL (or address bar) on the login page starts with https://cas.homeaway.com (for both HomeAway.com and VRBO.com) or https://www.vacationrentals.com.  Keep rental payments secure Accept secure online payments through secure credit card transactions with ReservationManager™.  Include your phone number on your listing so that travelers can call you to confirm their reservation and payment details prior to sending money, especially when you are asking to be paid by check or through a wire transfer to your bank account.  Encourage travelers to buy Carefree Rental Guarantee if they have additional concerns.  Phishers/ online scammers are aggressive. They will continue to try many different ways to trick internet users. We recognize that this may be frustrating, but if you stay alert and always practice caution, you can help protect your email account and online identity. We appreciate your efforts to help us operate the most secure and trusted vacation rental marketplace in the industry. The HomeAway Team For additional help, please visit one of the help pages below:

      HomeAway Help

      VRBO Help


        • Re: More Website Problems this morning....
          marym Active Contributor

          I'm just glad HA/VRBO is being more proactive and giving us a heads up.  For awhile, we were sort of on our own!

          • Re: More Website Problems this morning....
            shannon.martin HomeAway Employee

            Hi dbmeyer,


            We've made no changes on the Community site regarding logins, however there had been an issue when Facebook rolled out a new version of one of their connector tools. Please let us know if you are still having issues logging in!

            • Re: More Website Problems this morning....
              frogmom New Member

              We use Reservation Manager and did not get the scam email.

              • Re: More Website Problems this morning....
                anja Senior Contributor

                Your request is:  Please respond to this post with your information, scammed/not scammed, if you use Reservation Manager/don't use, and any other details related to receiving the scam email/or not.

                My answer:  I am on VRBO - not HA.  I have not been scammed {touch wood}.  I do not use Res. Mgr.    I did not receive the HA/VRBO warning email.   And, further....I do not use any of the "free email" accounts for my business ....not Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or other free account. I want to mention that because it seems that those Owners who were victim of the scam used one of the "free" emails for their HA-VRBO listing.

                • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                  kiawahcottage Community All-Star



                  I found it kind of ironic that they were telling us to be careful about clicking links in a sample phony homeaway email that looked essentially identical to the email they sent us to warn us about it.  And it had clickable links in it!


                  At this point I'm just reading and deleting all (non inquiry) emails that may or may not be from HA / VRBO.  No clicking!


                  I did get HA's urgent warning email.  I did not get the spam email.  I'm on HA and VRBO.  I used reservation manager once last year for a last minute booking.  I use my isp's webmail.


                  By the way they can easily get our email address just by inquiring .  How they target is another question.



                    • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email

                      I don't believe that they get our email address by inquiring unless we respond directly to them.

                        • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                          msdebj Senior Contributor

                          db, Now that is  just nuts, since they have ALL of our emails in their data base to notify us when our payments are due!  If they don't, but keep travelers email info that is even MORE nuts!


                          We PAY to advertise.

                            • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email

                              re: Per Paul above: "By the way they can easily get our email address just by inquiring .  How they target is another question."


                              I was referring to Paul's statement above when I said that inquirers don't get our email address unless we REPLY to the inquiry that VRBO sends us.  If spammers are getting our email addresses via the inquiry process, that isn't a very efficient way for them to do that, one-by-one.  I really believe that it is a database of email addresses that they are somehow able to access.

                        • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                          New Member

                          Thanks for the heads up...does anyone know if they're running this scam against some of the other sites?  I just checked HereStay and everything seems fine on their end.

                          • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                            New Member

                            I received two suspicious emails today (3/13/2012).  Both with the following subject lines:


                            Re: VRBO.com - Inquiry from Marie XXXXXXX - July 9-16

                            Re: Inquiry from Jean Pierre SXXXXX - July 9-16 -


                            Note that it's basically the same subect and it's not the usual automated email from VRBO or Homeaway.  Strange I though as I have never responded to anyone with the names on the subject line.  Also, note that it has the same dates.  I want on to Reservation Manager and there were no inquiries from these people.


                            Has anyone received the same email?


                            The message on the email is as follows:



                            Your email was blocked by my spam blocker. If you follow the instructions provided I will recieve your message. Thanks!

                            Marie Roberts,

                            Please click the link below to complete the verification process.
                            You have to do this only once.


                              • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                Active Contributor

                                The email notification from spamarrest is benign. To learn more about it, google “what is spamarrest?”. The crux of spamarrest is already described in the message you received. No harm is incurred if you follow its instructions. It will at least allow the receipient to retrieve the email.

                                  • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                    sophie Senior Contributor

                                    Liz said she never received the inquiries from these particular names or email addresses. Why then would she be getting these "benign" emails from someone who has had no contact with her?

                                      • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                        Active Contributor

                                        Here is what happened, step by step, in a technical sense:


                                        The email sender (Liz) sent an email to Marie Roberts & Jean Pierre Sauvage, who happens to be subscribers to a service called “SpamArrest.com”. Since Liz is not in the “authorized senders” list, SpamArrest sent Liz on behalf of the recipients, a message (the one Liz received), asking the sender (Liz) to click on a link included in the message. If she does that, the sender (Liz) is directed to a page in the SpamArrest domain, and the page will automatically generate a word and asks the sender to enter it into a form and submit it. The sender (Liz) is now verified and added to the recipient’s “authorized senders” list. This then allows the recipient/s to receive the email. Next time the sender (Liz) sends an email to the same recipient/s, verification is no longer asked.


                                        I merely explained the technical aspect of what transpired or how SpamArrest behaves when an email sender sends an email to a subscriber that is not in the "authorized senders" list. Although it conflicts with Liz’s description or recollection of things, I am not in a position to reconcile the variation, as I have no access to Liz’s email.

                                          • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                            mauioceanview Contributor

                                            it is suspect, I wouldn't go there. Move on. Yesterday I had the lovely 'my mom has tried inquiring several times and can't get through to you, what is your email address' scam, again. come on people....

                                              • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                                Active Contributor

                                                It is easy to make a determine if it’s a real Spamarrest notification or a fake one (simulating a spamarrest to induce going to the link website). From the email sent by spamarrest, bring the curser to the link to make the imbedded hyperlink visible. If it shows that it starts with http://www.spamarrest.com/, then the message Liz received was a spamarrest notification, thus benign. If it shows other than spamarrest domain, then it is a fake one – don’t even go there.


                                                Furthermore, if an email is sent to the same recipient/s just for testing purposes, it will bounce back with the same spamarrest notification similar to what Liz received. In such a case, the explanation I gave holds water. Don’t worry, the recipient will not even get to see the test message since the test sender is not in his “authorized senders” list.

                                              • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                                New Member

                                                I never sent an emal to Marie or Jean so I should have never received these emails.


                                                Also, please note that If someone tried to send me an email from the VRBO site, the subject line would have had my vacation rental ID on it; it didn’t have it.  If it was generated by VRBO, it would have also been listed on Reservation Manager, which it was not.  Just sharing the info.

                                        • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                          beachqueen New Member

                                          Verbo must of had many scams. I had a person call me about renting. He told me he would send a email back. When he hit the link, it directed him to someone else. He called me back & reported it. I then checked for myself. Sure enough someone put a link that was supposed to be directly to me.  I tried to access it to but got no response.  We did not have a link on our page. Someone had added it.  It's good to email yourself just to see what's going on.  I now am trying to get back to new inquiries thru the dashboard. I have trouble the the server, no response. I have looked for dashboard, but inquiry is not there. I think the new response system is a hot mess!

                                          I have given up & called as many back as possible. Two I sent response from VRBO & never heard back. I don't know if it even was sent. Not happy at all.

                                            • Re: VRBO Scam Warning Email
                                              carol Premier Contributor

                                              I'm not sure I understand exactly what happened, beachqueen.  Someone added a link to your VRBO ad? I don't think that's possible.   Or is it that the emails that are generated when someone hits the "email owner" button are not getting to you? 


                                              If it's the latter, your email has probably been hacked and someone has added a filter to forward all VRBO emails to their account, deleting them from yours.   You should check your email account right away for filters, remove them, and then change the password to your email account.  


                                              Anyway, this is a serious problem and you should call customer support right away.