Saturday, January 27, 2007

Internet Fraud Targets Vacation Rental Industry

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 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.
Warm Regards
Dr.Donald Miller

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.
Yours faithfully,
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.


  1. I have received several fraudulent rental inquiries and fortunately have not been duped. They have all come from different email addresses. Beware of the following types of inquiries:

    How are you today?,I would prefer you contact me at this E mail address I am pleased you want to lease
    your accomodation to me, Mr Smith made a good decision as I have seen from the details of the accomodation. I am OK with the price and will pay for my stay in full.This is how I want us to seal the transaction because I don't want any delay at all. I will send you funds of $3570.The extra money is my travel agents fee and payment for other travel services he rendered.All I want you to do when you receive the funds is to deduct yours which is $1250 and send the remaining via Western Union ( which he suggests) to him as he is somewhere in Africa.
    I would need this information for you to receive payment:
    FULL ADDRESS.........
    Phone> number Office / cell .................
    I will give you a call as soon as you respond or if you wish to contact me here is my contact:
    Name : Mr Thierry Kwame
    Address : 10 Hesketh Drive,
    Liverpool, L31 9Be
    Contact Phone Number : (+44) 7040116477.

    I am a Geologist based in U.K,although I am from Costa Rica,I will be coming over to the States for my honeymoon and need a

    home to rent.Please,let me know your final renting price based on discount,avialabity for the month of January or december,3weeks and mode of payment as my financier who is based in the U.S.A. will effect the payment. Let me hear from you on receipt of this message.
    Best Regards,
    J.M Chinchilla

  2. I have seen several of these they are usually from or some other site.

    All you need to do is tell them you accept cash only and they will not bother you again.

    If you have some down time you can play these people in order to get a better education as to how the scam works in order to advise other fellow accommodation providers.

    Also note they are now trying to give credit cards as payment

    Paradise Cottages

  3. Thanks for this. I cannot believe the number of hoaxes I have been
    receiving in the past couple of years, as compared to the first few
    years, when I had none.

    I don't understand how this can actually pay-off for the fraudsters.

  4. I have recieved @20+ responses to an ad I ran on craigslist and they all had the same bad grammar, spoke of UK or Paris, linked to charitable work, wanted to overpay for boss, "Kind regards" salutation, very eager, etc. That's when I did a search for scams and found several sites describing the same thing.

  5. I think that all of us, internet users, are a target of internet fraud, one way or another. We should be careful not to pass our personal information to anyone unknown.

  6. Internet fraud is directed to all kinds of fields, which is really sad, because in some of them, like education or learning, people wouldn't even consider such a danger.