21 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2018 1:27 PM by kazinsd RSS

    Is this a scam?

    stnamburu New Member

      I received an inquiry asking if a certain 6 nights in August were available. This person is a new traveler with Although I wanted to reply telling them to look at the calendar, I responded that they were. Then he says he would like to overnight a check for the full amount and needs my full name, address, email address. I told him that we only take credit cards through vrbo and this was his response

      Thanks for the response, I feel more secure paying by check, if you would

      like to proceed, please get back to me with the information to mail out the

      check, you can also text the information to mail out the check to my cell

      phone 3 13 and 74 9 and lastly 98 22 .

      Thanks and I will be waiting to read from you

      The fact that he knew how to enter his phone number where vrbo wouldn't block it tells me that he isn't a New traveler. It also takes at least 12 hours to reply to a message, his area code is on the other side of the country and my house isn't somewhere that people fly into to visit. When I responded asking a few more questions, like why just he and his wife want to stay in my 3br house?, where is if from?, and what interested him in my home? asking if he would do PayPal? I haven't heard anything in 2 days. Is this a scam? If so, I know he would ask for a refund and hope that I would send it back, but with there still being 2 months before is check in wouldn't I have time to make sure that the check had cleared before sending a refund?

        • Re: Is this a scam?
          georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

          pass - is he trying to avoid the ha fee?

          • Re: Is this a scam?
            margaret CommunityAmbassador


            • Re: Is this a scam?
              ohst8er Senior Contributor

              I read your post to my dog and she growled and the hair on her neck stood up.  If my dog doesn't trust something, I don't trust something.


              Fluffy thinks it's a scam.  So do I.

              • Re: Is this a scam?
                jwdw Contributor

                I totally agree - this is a scam. When I sense this I just tell the traveler that I only accept payments through HA or Paypal. Then they magically disappear. I also used to have an issue with near term requests (hey, I want to rent your place starting tomorrow for 2 weeks) which definitely had a scam feel to it. I changed my setting to not allow any bookings within 5 days of the current date. and those issues went away as well.

                  • Re: Is this a scam?
                    stnamburu New Member


                    It does seem fishy to me but he's wanting to book for mid August which would give me plenty of time to verify payment. Lets just say I did accept his payment, then what would happen next? He asks for a refund and I wait and confirm that his check has (or has not) cleared before I send back the refund?

                      • Re: Is this a scam?
                        twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                        They don't send a personal check, they send a fake cashier's check.  Then they hound you for the refund.


                        If you really want to take the risk, then text him the info.  Be sure to send him your rental contract, and insist that he does not have a booking until he sends you the signed contract, his address,  a copy of his ID, and his check clears.  In the meantime, keep your calendar open so you have a chance to get a legitimate booking.


                        I'll put $20 on the table this is the old scam.

                          • Re: Is this a scam?
                            ohst8er Senior Contributor

                            My dog takes offense to you using the word "hound."  She said she'd never do anything like that. 

                            • Re: Is this a scam?
                              stnamburu New Member

                              I'm not planning to entertain him. I'm just new to the rental world and trying to figure out how the scam works so I can look out in the future. Thanks.

                                • Re: Is this a scam?
                                  ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                  "I feel more secure paying by check."  Think about that one.  If i give you a check, and you cash it, and I have buyer's remorse, I'm sunk.  If I pay you by cc, and you accept my payment, and I have buyer's remorse, I can do a charge back on my cc.  There are threads upon threads here that show a traveler almost always gets the benefit of the doubt when it comes to chargebacks.  


                                  I still say this is a scam.

                                  • Re: Is this a scam?
                                    mike-dfv Senior Contributor

                                    stnamburu wrote:


                                    I'm not planning to entertain him. I'm just new to the rental world and trying to figure out how the scam works so I can look out in the future. Thanks.


                                    They send you a fake cashiers check for more than the amount of the rental and ask you to wire the excess funds back to them. After doing that, the fake check bounces so you wind up being out the full amount of the check and the refunded amount.


                                    Typically, 30 days *should* be a safe amount of time for a check to clear, but there are instances where a check can bounce even years later.

                                      • Re: Is this a scam?
                                        stjoseph369street New Member

                                        Sounds almost identical to one I received about a week ago.  Was visiting his mother-in-law in France and wanted to fly directly to my place which is a small town in Vt. when he got back to the “State” as he put it.  Only him and his wife and I have a 3 bedroom/2 bath.  His accountant would send me a cashier’s check once I supplied all my info, e.g. address, cell # etc.  He ended with God Bless.   I didn’t respond and flagged it as Spam on my Dashboard. 

                              • Re: Is this a scam?
                                feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                Mark the inquiry as SPAM and move on.

                                • Re: Is this a scam?
                                  ambidextrous Active Contributor

                                  Killer agrees. This be a scam. She bit my computer. Seriously, there is no way this is not a scam. "I feel better sending a check than using a card..." Uh, right. A variation on the scam is that they will overpay you and then ask that you have funds sent elsewhere, or send the difference to them for travel expenses (because the boss is paying for the trip and wanted to cover everything. Then the certified bank check turns out to be a fake, and your bank does not find out -- and charge you -- until after you have sent that "extra" on to someone else.


                                  • Re: Is this a scam?
                                    1500main Contributor

                                    I just got one of these today.

                                    Initial message reads like this:


                                    Message from Paul Richard

                                    I'm interested in your property kindly get bank to me if the property is still available for the chosen date


                                    I figured this was a scam right off  due to the use of "kindly" and also questioning dates that were actually available, plus he was NOT Verified.

                                    I replied to him with just a period: "."

                                    12 hours later I got a reply that did not question my non-reply, instead it said this:

                                    Message from Paul Richard

                                    My company will be taking care of the vacation so I can only make the

                                    payment by sending you a company or certified check for the payment, kindly

                                    get back to me with the mailing information and total quote for the night

                                    and also feel free to leave me a text on 313 and 636and 4370 so we can

                                    further discuss this


                                    So, yeah, total scam as he not only wants to pay with Certified Check and tried to get me to call/text him, but his account is not Verified.

                                    I marked as SPAM.

                                      • Re: Is this a scam?
                                        jackalope New Member

                                        I got two inquiries worded almost exactly like this, first they asked if the dates were available, altho they clearly were available on the calendar, but I pre approved

                                        then they go

                                        My company is paying for the vacation and all other cost incurred and can

                                        only get payment tphandle this by sending a check for it, feel free to

                                        leave me a text on 361 and 356 and 4171 to further discuss this.


                                        So I'm like why cant they just put it on their card and their company cuts them a check? Standard procedure for an expense account for business travel.

                                        But company paying for a vacation?


                                        So then i cancelled it, hope that won't affect my metrics.


                                        So... don't pre approve if they ask: "Is your property available?" Just say "Yes."

                                          • Re: Is this a scam?
                                            summercottage New Member

                                            Jackalope, I just received an inquiry just like this, except that the area code the scammer used is my area code.  I responded by saying "I only accept bookings using the Homeaway/VRBO platform, which requires payment via credit card".  Do you think I've opened myself up for any kind of problem?  I've only been renting for a year and this is the first scam inquiry I've received, would love any advice.Screening & scams

                                              • Re: Is this a scam?
                                                ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                                summercottage, I've gotten these sorts of inquiries before.  The system requires you to respond with something, since it's an inquiry.  Did you open yourself up to any kind of problem? 


                                                In a word, no.  Think of a scammer as a fisherman.  He casts his big net, then reels it in.  They only care about the fish IN the net.  You happened to be a lucky fish that was in or near the net, but jumped out as the net was being hoisted up.  The fisherman won't lose a wink of sleep over you.  And when the fisherman casts his net again, you know to just swim away. 

                                          • Re: Is this a scam?
                                            kazinsd New Member

                                            I get at least a half dozen of these every month. Honestly, I think I am spending more time answering these than legit inquiries. Has anybody found a way to reduce these?