Today's blog is about internet fraud that targets the vacation rental industry from time to time. As webmaster of the site, I receive copies of all inquiries sent out to owners, so the suspicious looking ones are very easy to spot. For those owners, new to this business, please read the question and answers below so that you will not be a victim of this fraudulant activity. This is also available on Ideal Vacation Rentals under the heading owners.
Q. As a vacation rental owner do I have to worry about internet fraud?
A. Unfortunately there are always people who use the internet for unscrupulous purposes. Over the last few years, there has been some internet fraud targeting the vacation rental industry. The most common of these scams involve fraudsters saying that they are booking on behalf of a third party. They usually want to book for a long period of time and they want to send you more money than required, usually by a certified check. They then, request that you send them back the overpayment balance. Their hope is that you will pay this back before their check has been found out to be fraudulent, which means that you would be out of pocket by the amount you sent back and it may be too late to rent your place to someone else for that time period.
Q. Is there any way to identify a person who is intending to implement this kind of fraud?
A. Usually emails from these fraudsters are written with poor grammar and often have misuse of capital letters such as i instead of I. Sometimes they tell you they are a doctor or even a minister attending a conference in your area. Often they don't fill out your whole form, just the comment section. They are usually very eager to pay and often say they are representing a third party.
Q. What is the best way to protect myself from being a victim of internet fraud.
A. The best way to protect yourself from internet fraud, is to not accept a check for more than the amount of the rental. If it is necessary to return money for any reason wait at least 30 days, or until a check has cleared before you return any money! To read more about internet fraud go to http://www.fraud.org for more information.
Below are two examples of emails from fraudsters that have been sent to our site.
How are you today?,i'm writting to inquire about your property placed for rent on the property rentals ad.,and after series of choices,me and my family chose your property for our maiden visit to the United States.
I think your property will be just perfect for me and my family's vacation. We want to rent your property for ten nights starting from ( 03/15/07) thru ( 03/24/07). Get back to me asap if your property will be available for rent so that we can proceed with rental modalities. Hope to hear from you soon.
Good day Sir/Madam,
I am Dr. Philip Young of Regan Agency, based in London, UK.
I need to book reservation in your hotel for delegates from London coming for a Christian summit.
I need to know if there are free spaces for their accommodation. They would be 6 in Number and they would stay for 15 days starting from the 10th of June to 30th June 2005. I'll like to view your brochure also, to see what you have to offer.
Do get back to me quickly, as we don't have much time in our hands. Thank you and have a nice day.
Dr. Philip Young.
If you have been a victim of internet fraud, we would be interested in your comments so that others may benefit from your experience.