SPOKANE, Wash. - Finding a vacation rental on-line is one of the easiest and most popular ways to plan a vacation. However, the Better Business Bureau says scammers know that too and they're creating fake listings to steal your money.
The BBB says scammers take pictures of homes posted on the Internet and then use them to create their own fake listing. They get you to send them money and then don't fulfill their end of the bargain because they don't really have access to the home they've listed. The BBB says the scammers will also use houses that are on-sale, which makes identifying the scam more difficult because they're addresses match up with the fake listing. The BBB's best piece of advice: trust your instinct and do your research.
It offers the following tips for renting a vacation home on-line.
1) Use a credit card. A legitimate renter isn't going to mind if you use plastic. Wiring money is a red flag. The BBB also recommends against using a check so that you don't have to share your bank account information.
2) Compare prices. If the price is way below other similar rentals in the same area, it's probably too good to be true.
3) Make sure the listing has a real address. Sometimes fake listings have fake addresses.
4) Collect contact information. A legitimate renter is more than willing to set up a phone call with you and encourage contact so they can make that sale.
Ask for references. Anyone with a positive rental history is going to be more than happy to give you references and