You're looking for a vacation rental, maybe for a weekend, a week, or for a bit longer. You see an unbelievably great deal on Craigslist and you jump on it. Surely there will be a lot of people interested so you don't wait.
You contact the owner and finalize the deal and send in your deposit. Then, when it's time to move in, you get the surprise of your life. The home is NOT for rent and you have been scammed!
Not only is this a humiliating and, undoubtedly, costly experience, you are also out the deposit and still don't have a place. Stephanie Hollander was on the other end of this dastardly deception and had her own inconveniences with the bogus listing.
The Cincinnati woman was trying to sell her home and listed it on the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) site. Little did she know that by taking this simple and common action, she was putting her home into the hands of swindlers.
Stephanie Hollander got an email one day from a woman who claimed to have rented her home, which Stephanie had advertised as a "For Sale By Owner" listing. Confused by the claim, she made it clear to the poor woman that her home was NOT for rent.
According to Forbes Magazine, home rental scams are more common than you might think. Scammers in other countries copy your for-sale listing and then repost it as a vacation rental on one of the online portals that have sprung up in recent years: VRBO, Airbnb, and Craigslist.
"The worst rip-offs seduce would-be vacationers with fabulous pictures of fictitious properties. Once the renter is hooked, the phony landlord collects an up-front ‘security deposit’ and runs for the hills.
“Victims are left unaware they’ve been cheated until weeks later when they show up at the address with their luggage in hand.” Lucky for Stephanie that the "renter" of her house contacted her in advance so they were able to sort it out before the poor victims showed up on their doorstep.
How can we protect ourselves from falling victim to this unscrupulous practice? Forbes gives consumers some tips on what to look for to let you know that it's probably NOT real:
1) Price is too low for the area;
2) There is no feedback from previous renters provided;
3) Owner wants cash or money order as payment.
To learn more about this new scam, watch the video, below.