Tips to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams
Are you planning to use a classified advertisement website or online vacation rental marketplace to book your summer vacation? If so, the Lee County Sheriff's Office encourages you to do your homework before committing your hard-earned dollars for that dream vacation in the mountains, beachfront condo, or timeshare travel.
Never pay with cash, prepaid card, check or wire transfer. Instead, pay with a credit card or PayPal. If something goes wrong, you can dispute the charges.
Beware of low pricing for premium vacation property. Scammers will lure their victims into action by offering below market rent on property that “won’t last long”. Most likely, the property is for sale and the ad has been cloned from a legitimate real estate listing.
Use a reputable company that specializes in vacation rentals. Although well-known rental sites have occasionally been the target of fraudulent activities, they typically have staff who can help you validate whether a listing is legitimate or not.
Conduct an online search of the property you are interested in renting. Use Google Street View or another mapping application to verify that the property really exists. Search for the owner’s name, photos, reviews of the property, or copy and paste the first one or two sentences of the ad in a Google search to see if the same posting shows up on another website.
For more information about vacation rental scams, call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 258-3292.