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      • 30. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
        New Member

        I've had two different inquiries in the past two days that I believe are scams and are wondering if anyone else is getting these. My huge red flag is bad grammar. Another is when they use wrong words (like "facility" in the email below). I'm trying to figure out what the deal is. What's going to happen if I send these people a payment request through VRBO?


        Below are the exact copies of the the messages. The first I replied to thinking I might stump them and they actually responded. I'm curious to hear what you think. The second was just an inquiry which I haven't replied to yet. Keep in mind, I live in Gainesville, Florida which is not a typical "vacation" town -- our usual guests are here for University of Florida and Gator sports related events.



        hello,i saw your facility and i loved it..please i want to kow if the dates choosen by me are available and if credit cards can be used as a medium of payment?please get back to me asap...pixton


        MY REPLY:

        Thanks for your inquiry. The acceptance of credit cards depends on where you are located. Can you please tell me where you live? Also, what is bringing you to town?


        THEIR REPLY:

        i live in utah..my husband and i and our pastor and oue kids just want to get away for four days to seek the face of the lord in prayers..please get back to me


        INQUIRY #2:

        Hello how are you doing there today..i saw your house here and i do have interest in that i will like you to get back to me on this Email Address tXXXXXXXXXXd@yahoo.com so that i can be ready for the payment Fredericks


        • 31. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
          New Member

          Just had a very similar experience as others here (from the Ukraine; "oops, made a mistake with the checks, please keep your share and send rest to my travel agent"). Went to bank to cash the money orders so I could wire the money to his travel agent and bank told me they were fake. I wasn't surprised ... something just didn't seem right. But it is very annoying and infuriating!


          I feel like e-mailing him and saying "I cashed the checks and am using the money to go on vacation!"

          • 32. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
            New Member

            you are lucky that your bank was able to spot a forgery.  Most banks cannot tell and put them into your account.  Then, 2 weeks later, you are notified that it was a forgery and you are out the money.  The bank is not liable, even if they accept it for deposit. I wouldn't even deposit the "money order" because I knew there would be a "return check fee".   I love how they say that "since Visa is unsecure" (as if there check is secure!)

            Rule# 1.  Don't give money back.

            • 33. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
              New Member

              THANK YOU all for sharing.  My instinct was right but not until I already sent them our contract with our name and address on it.


              I got the exact same letters as posted.


              I am so glad this was posted...but as soon as I got the "I overpaid you letter" I knew this smelled worse than ever.

              • 34. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?

                Just received the following inquiry which is obviously a scam.  I won't reply but this is an example of how a scammer can get our email address if we do reply.

                Inquiry Detail

                Hi!!! I`m from UK and want to ask do I need an adapter for a curling iron or shaver?

                Nameharold biehl
                Guests0 adults, 0 children
                • 35. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                  Active Contributor

                  it is great to see this important blog about online security. I hope that all 500,000+ vacation homeoners take security seriously. Unfortunately that is not the case.


                  I suggest we write a new blog about warning signals so we are all aware and learn from each other.

                  • 36. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                    Active Contributor

                    Since I advertise on many sites with all my homes, I receive an average of 10 emails per week all dealing with "my employer sent too much" scam. Last week I had fun with one of them. I never give out my banking info or any other personal info. I asked for a check for a deposit. They emailed me that it was sent and that "they sent too much". I emailed, I have no way to do refunds. "my computer cannot generate refunds". They started begging for the refund. I emailed answers after each of their requests. Needless to say, we never received the original deposit check.


                    Two years ago, I received an inquiry on a rental that was to take place within a month. I find this highly unusual as I typically rent 6 months in advance. After much back and forth emails, I received a deposit check. But instead of the check being for $1000, the check was for $5000. We were asked to deposit the check, let it clear and then refund the difference prior to their comining as they had to buy their air line tickets. The check was from an aviation company in Florida. As this was an usual request, I had my assistant first call the bank the check was drawn on. Account was good. But request was unusal so we called the aviation company. A very large company with many branches through out the United States. They were not aware of any such rental, but transferred the call to another branch. They were not able to answer our questions. We asked for the main office and asked to be connected to either the president of the company or the main accounts payable manager.


                    Long story, short, turns out the check was drawn on a real account and a real company. BUT, the check was a fraud. Had we deposited the check, it would have cleared our account, hit the aviation company account, they would have disputed the check, money would have been withdrawn from our account, paid back to aviation company and we would have been out $4000.  The entire process could take 30 days. Pays to take the time to investigate anything that seems just a little bit strange.

                    • 37. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                      Active Contributor

                      Wow Marilyn!!! That is an amazing story.


                      You should post your story in the blog:

                      How to spot a Scam from a real inquiry?


                      I hope we can collect these stories there to alert all homeowners of the risks.

                      • 38. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?

                        Please, please, please, even if you get a check that is more than the listed amount, please do not cash it.

                        Why? Even if the check were to clear, the scammer still has you information that is on the check. Your bank acct. number, routing number, driver’s license, home address and any other information you have listed on it. The scammer gets a photo of the check and even if they gave you the money, they would still have access to your bank account. Take it to bank security and hopefully they can track down the perpetrator. I have found that the best way to curb suspicion is to ask them to call you. If they are serious, they will, but scammers will not.

                        I hope this helps!



                        • 39. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                          Active Contributor


                          Unfortunately speaking with the scammer is not a true handle on the situation.

                          I asked a scammer to call me and he did. Clarified some questions I had and then mailed me the check. I was not suspicious at the time so did not make a note of the phone number. It was not until I received a check from an aviation company that my antennas went up. It is a very very rare case that I receive a check from a company. That made me check further and called the company asking for the person who certainly did not work there. HOWEVER, the check looked real, had a real company listed and the bank account was real. But the company knew nothing about the rental or the person. We emailed a copy of the check to them and they were shocked. Although the check number was not correct, everything else on the check was perfect.

                          • 40. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                            Active Contributor

                            Hi Gabriel

                            Not sure how to spot a scam.

                            I think you just have to do your due diligence. It it seems weird, 99% it is.

                            I am not sure how stupid one has to be to send a check for a rental that is several thousand more than a rental. That should be a warning light right away.

                            When we all write checks, we are careful. So how does a check get written for thousands more, unless it is a scam.

                            • 41. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                              Active Contributor

                              I agree with you Marilyn, scammers are experts at what they do and we will never be able to spot every single scam, but your experience can help other owners be cautious if they receive mail/calls from these criminals.

                              • 42. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?
                                Active Contributor

                                One potential problem I see is that home owners are so anxious to rent, they don't see a potential scam coming.


                                Let's face it the economy is difficult, competition is greater and some amenities are being blown out of the water (chef and daily housekeeping provided). Thankfully (although I am always worried) we have had wonderful rentals in all seven homes.


                                I think we just need to keep our eyes wide open.

                                • 43. Re: Scam from the Ukraine?

                                  Thanks Marilyn, I did not know this.  Glad you caught it before it got really bad!




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