11 Replies Latest reply: Jul 16, 2012 3:19 PM by cruisingal2 RSS

    Strange name - rental request

    cruisingal2 Contributor

      I have a request from a strange name, and that is not the part I am concerned about.  There was no message, but a request for a week, 4 adults.  The first name appeared Russian, and the last name perhaps African.  I research my requests and can't find anything that clues me in.  On the chance it is a request from Russia or Africa, what forms of payment do you generally accept.  The date is for November.  Thanks for your help.  The email is a hotmail account.

        • Re: Strange name - rental request
          New Member

          Oddly enough I have been struggling with the same issue today and wondering if I should respond to the inquiry or ignore it. My gut feeeling is that it is a scam or someone phishing, and after reading your post, I think I will ignore. Mine is the same exact situation...strange name, appears to be Russian, no telephone number. Name is included in the hotmail address. The date of the inquiry is November 2- November 9. 6 Adults, no children. I am new to VRBO so I am trying to be very careful not to make any "mis-steps."

            • Re: Strange name - rental request
              cruisingal2 Contributor

              The first name of my inquiry is Anzhey.

               

              I have had nothing but fantastic guests in the past.  I research most people and find "something" about them if nothing else but where they live.  This one did not have a ph number either.  I did answer them, and if I don't feel comfortable with their response, I will think of something to resolve it.  I will let you know what I hear. 

                • Re: Strange name - rental request
                  cruisingal2 Contributor

                  The dates for my request were Nov 3-10, very similar to yours.  The email address was rather bizarre.....

                    • Re: Strange name - rental request
                      New Member

                      Like you I could find not find ANYTHING out there that clues me to exact origin. And while the name is strange, that part doesn't concern me as much as the lack of information or details. My calendar was updated today so they would see it was available, but not the first remark or phone number to reach anyone, which I prefer to do to get a better idea of who is looking to rent.  Six adults in the off season for our lake house rental in Alabama is also odd. Is there any harm in responding to their request through VRBO site in terms of phishing and them having access to my email account if it is a scam? I have done a fair amount of reading today on the community forum and certainly don't want to compromise my account by not knowing how secure my VRBO responses are.

                        • Re: Strange name - rental request
                          anja Senior Contributor

                          Hi lakeview,

                           

                          I do not like "revealing" my email address, by responding, when I feel very insecure or suspicious over an inquiry ...especially from an inquirer who crafts a request to me which is  *void*  of  basic identity and *untraceable* on the Internet.  But, I find that a lot of inquirers {legit ones} actually do not inquire adequately...they leave out essential information I'd like to know, from the first inquiry. I also find it harder to "screen" an email address these days....many people use "throw away" emails that have no history to trace online {that's making my screening frustrating}.

                           

                          But, if you use the VRBO Dashboard's  "REPLY" button responding with their server, your email address will *still* be revealed to the inquirer.

                           

                          So, decide if you want to reply at all....or maybe just open a free email account {Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail} to answer this type of inquiry, so they don't phish your real email address.

                  • Re: Strange name - rental request
                    anja Senior Contributor

                    My 2 cents:

                     

                    You are (all) right to be careful.  If you feel insecure with an initial inquiry -and-  are not completely satisified with an inquirer's response...in any way...at any time during the process of the deal.....use CAUTION.  Do not proceed when insecurity exists.

                     

                    Having said that:   I'm not in favour of "lump" judgments on any "nationality" ....there are good and bad people...there are respectful people and "loathes"  in our human race everywhere...from every country.

                     

                    I heed all warnings, use common sense, caution and listen to my gut  *every single day* that I permit myself to give the keys to my home to any stranger.

                     

                    The bad rap:

                    I've had  nice guests from Russia (more than once)...the last was a small family who spent the Christmas/New Year holiday at our place --- they were not USA-mainland immigrant Russians...they flew here from St Petersburg to see the USA and went so far as Hawaii.   I've had nice couple from South Africa who were touring the USA on a six-month holiday, visiting Hawaii as the last stop....and a charming gentleman from Mali a few years ago who came to my State for university-related matters, and visited my island for a few days, hosted by me {a pleasure}. They were all from countries that have been given a very bad reputation...by Internet scammers ...they can thank those monsters who ruined their countrys'  reputations.

                     

                    The very name, Ukraine, conjures "scam artist" for me in an inquiry.....if it's written in that "style" we can spot a mile away.  We've all gotten them.  But, I have Ukrainian friends from days I worked with that country. They travel internationally. {They are aware of the fraudsters using the Ukraine's name}.  I'm sorry for the good people of any country whose gotten a bad reputation because of some ill behaved "guests" in someone's home...or Internet scammers!  We know honesty and disrespect has no "nationality".

                     

                    We have to be so careful with every inquiry that does not sound/feel genuine, to us.

                     

                    Regardless, I do not deviate from my rental terms and conditions -- for anyone -- regardless of where they come from {whether my own country, my neighbourhood or another country}.

                      • Re: Strange name - rental request
                        New Member

                        Anja,

                        I completely agree with everything you have said and certainly do not wish to be one who jumps to any conclusions regarding any "nationality." I have been treated with kindness and respect when traveling to other countries and certainly want to return those same courtesies to those traveling here.

                         

                        There certainly are "good" and "bad" people in every country and I am just having to learn how to trust my instincts when as you said, I am turning over the keys to our home.

                         

                        Thank you for your response and the advice to be cautious, intuitive, yet remain open.

                        • Re: Strange name - rental request
                          cruisingal2 Contributor

                          Thank you all for your responses.  I don't discriminate and hope that I do receive int'l guests.  Just had one from England.  I found only one person on the internet with the last name. Period. Strange.  And then the prefix on the hotmail accnt was bizarre, ... started with "free".... but the rest made no sense... I know you can't always go by email names, but it was 2 strikes, an almost unknown last name and bizarre email adress... ='s potential scam.... will let you know their response.  Like you "Lakeview", I have lakefront rental property but  in FL.

                        • Re: Strange name - rental request
                          cruisingal2 Contributor

                          UPDATE:  After this person made a request via VRBO email, with no phone number or questions, I said my rental was available and to let me know if they wanted further info.  They responded with a short, "OK, how much is it?"  To give them the benefit of the doubt,  I responded with my rate and also questions (to hopefully smoke them out..).  I told them that if they wished to reserve, they needed to give me a phone number and their country or state.  They never responded back.  I do believe that it was a scam.  Out of trillions of information on the internet, their last name popped up once with a "common girls first name".  I find it odd that a last name can only appear once on the entire internet.   I have received one other request in the past with the same scenario, but the name was not as "rare".

                           

                          I also had another scammer call a few weeks ago with a West Palm Beach phone number (area code 561).  He called, and had the frisky salesman voice and called out my VRBO # and said he was interested for the whole month of April (April is open on my calendar).  I looked up his phone number and it was listed in the scammer website phone numbers, and also on what looked to be a bogus website that looked like a scam... tied with an Energy company.  Needless to say, I did not return his call and I believe he has called once before.

                           

                          I look at things this way, I have done fairly well with my rental and when questionable stuff pops up, I say to myself, there is still time for other potential renters to come forward and I don't look at the questionable stuff as a "loss".

                           

                          I hope this helps others, and the information on this forum definitely helps me, so than you all.

                          • Re: Strange name - rental request
                            New Member

                            UPDATE: My inquiry turned out to be one of the Ukraine Scammers. I got a "confirmation email" this morning that read just like the ones I saw last week on the forum!! So glad I had this resource and for everyone's feedback.

                            • Re: Strange name - rental request
                              cruisingal2 Contributor

                              LAST UPDATE:  I rec'd a response, their 3rd contact with me.  I was about to email them back, but decided to plug in the address they gave me.  (They also wanted to pay by check)  When I plugged the address in, voila, a VRBO Forum post came up with the same note, but different name and slightly different address.  Here it is again for those that may have not seen the other one posted by "sparky" and others, below.  (and by the way, I am finished with this one)  For those who don't know, my bank told me you have to allow up to 8 weeks for a foreign check to clear, and the rental date was outside that, but still, I don't think I am going to tinker with this one. However, I will let you all know if I hear anything else from this one.

                               

                              Email:  (I inserted question marks  over some info to protect the "innocent", if they happen to be...)

                              Hello

                                   

                              Thanks for the updated information.

                              We are okay with the accommodation and cost .

                              we would also like to confirm  the reservation on the following information:

                               

                                 - Mrs   Loodmyla ???????  ****(Left this out to protect the "innocent")****

                                     

                                 ?? Lenina, 81209 kiev, Ukraine.

                                   

                                  Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone, I have arrange for payment inform of check

                                  

                               

                                  Please do forward me the following details for payment

                                   

                                   

                                  FULL NAME

                                  BILLING ADDRESS

                                  CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER

                                   

                                   

                                  Hope to hear from you soon

                                   

                                  Regards

                               

                                   Loodmyla ???????