I am brand new to VRBO, just got our listing set up this past week.
I got a recent booking request through the VRBO site (actual booking, not an inquiry). The name on the request was foreign and while the message text sounded like English wasn't their first language, there weren't really any red flags (ie asking to pay by check, asking for dates that were available, misspelling, etc.).
Message text: "Hi hope to see you for our first family vacation in a long time. It would be my husband and daughter. And our three adult cousins."
When I searched for this person by name (very distinctive name), I get back 1 result. This person currently lives in Queens, New York and is from Rio Claro, Trinidad and Tobago.
After accepting the booking, I was able to search on the phone and email address. They are a new traveler, account created in 2019, with no reviews of other properties or by owners. Searching on the email (which has a 19 in it, making me think it was also just created), returns nothing. Searching on the phone number, I get a result from a different name also in New York.
I accepted the booking request, and the first payment was paid, but it is from another completely different foreign name. The name is again very distinctive and returns only 1 search result on Facebook. My vacation rental is in the Myrtle Beach, SC area. This person lists Auckland, New Zealand as their hometown - obviously they may now live in the US. They have their Facebook profile locked down pretty tightly, but as far as I can tell they are not friends with the FB profile of the person in the booking request (although their privacy settings my be what's causing them not to show up in the first person's friend list).
After searching this forum, I found lots of posts about scams where people were asking to pay by check and that kind of thing, but in this case, they did already pay the first payment (50%) by credit card through VRBO. I will be sending the rental agreement to them shortly. It just gives me a weird feeling that there are different names and very little data that doesn't seem to match up.
What do I need to do to make sure this is all legit and I'm not getting scammed? Any help is appreciated!