Vacation rental scams are getting trickier – Red flags to watch for

The arrival of summer is approaching. Beaches are gleaming with golden sand, and sales of barbecue equipment are on the rise. It can only mean one thing: it’s time to start thinking about a family vacation or a quick getaway.

As exciting as it may sound, there are several things you should keep in mind before you hit the road. Restrictions aside, there are other important things to worry about when booking a vacation. Tap or click here for 10 things to consider before finalizing your plans.

With Memorial Day less than a week away, many people want to get out and have some fun. But be careful if you are thinking of renting a vacation property. Tons of rental scams are doing the rounds.

Here’s the backstory
Scammers are always on the lookout for their next victim. They may try to find you at your front door, in a shopping mall, or online. Vacation rentals are a favorite attraction for fraudsters on the Internet and will use all sorts of tricks to split your money.

There are dangers in using reliable services like Airbnb and VRBO, too. Both services have safeguards in place to protect renters and property owners, but some things, unfortunately, slip through the cracks.

“From Airbnb n’ Switch, where individuals simply create false home profiles for guests to show a house that is much more dirty, smaller or rundown than photos, to last-minute cancellations more costly to desperate guests. Options force booking. With a single host, Airbnbs is a prime example of ‘advance with caution’, explains Kim Komando.

how to stay safe
With restrictions being eased and the summer holidays approaching, scammers will be out in full force. When searching online for deals or the best rates, make sure you only use a reputable service.

Cybercriminals often create fake online ads for destinations at unbelievable rates. These listings generally require you to pay upfront. Proceed with extreme caution and make sure the company you are dealing with is legit.

Scammers also know how to manipulate Google search results. The first answer to your question may not take you to the official website. It is best to type the web address directly into your web browser on official pages rather than clicking on links from search results.

Kim also suggests doing a quick cleanup of any holiday rooms for hidden cameras or listening devices.

“Once you arrive at your Airbnb or VRBO property, be sure to check for hidden cameras everywhere. Today cameras are camouflaged to look like anything from a USB power adapter to a smoke detector or pen,” she explains.

If you’re serious about privacy when you travel, Kim says, consider investing in a professional RF signal detector. Tap or click here for more ways to find hidden cameras on Airbnb or rental properties.

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