Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Scam Targeting Owners of US Vacation Rentals

Scam artists have not yet given up on attempts to try their luck at sending fraudulant cashier's checks to vacation rental owners.
While many of our owners can usually indentify these scams there are still cases of owners who have almost been out of pocket. Even experienced owners who have been renting their homes for years, sometimes are taken in by some of the more cleverly written ones.
We recently sent a warning to our members regarding an email sent to some of our owners of United States vacation rentals. The content of this very suspicious inquiry was as follows:

I will want to rent this house for friends who will bestaying there for thierhoneymoon ,it's my gift to them since iwont beable to attend thier wedding,3rd march-18 march 2007 is the expected time frame,please advice.
Dr Stanley Stanford."

One of our owners of a vacation rental in Humacao Puerto Rico wrote us the following letter relating an experience that he would like to share with us:

"I think it is great that Ideal Vacation Rentals is sending warnings of scams. Better to have warnings than problems or even inconveniences from these. I have a fraudulent $5000 check pinned to my wall which came from Africa but was drawn on a bank in Indiana. It looks most convincing. The preceding correspondence was convincing for awhile as well.
Renters should all work together to defeat these scams. I applaud your effort. Here's the version of your noted scam that reached me. I'd played "tennis" with these guys this week, before deciding they were up to something. Note the reference to credit card payment, when I gave up on them I believe they were about to change to a check payment, but it began to smell bad, so I dropped out.
You may post this to your blog if you like.
Jim Meighan"

The following is the scam that he almost fell for:

I enquire for reservations for 3 couples coming for their honey moon at your property,I would like you to get back to me with the following.
1. The availability of the dates
2. The Daily cost for the required dates
3. The total cost for the lenght of their stay.
4. Do you accept credit card payment.
5.the total cost of the 3 rooms for 15 days. The arrival date for the couples will be 31st May and they will depart on 15th june 2007 ,

Their stay will last for 15 days. do get back to me with the requirements as stated above.

Kindest Regards,
Dr.Kevin Doyle
Mobile:+44 70457 07507
Voice Msg:+447005938339"

In conclusion just remember not to ever send any money back as a refund, unless you are sure that the original check has cleared the bank. For frequently asked questions on this topic read Internet Fraud Targets Vacation Rental Industry.

Please comment on this blog if you have similar stories to share with us.


  1. Dear owners of idealvacationrentals,
    Great that you warn your vacation rental owners of scams which are still going on in the rental industry. Owners can easily lose a lot of money. No bank will refund them anything for that fake money order and there is no way to track it. I also noticed that the scammers have become quite sophisticated to make it look like the genuine rental inquiry.
    Here is what should raise a red flag (be cautious!):
    1. inquiry has lots of spelling mistakes and comes from Dr.
    2. inquiry asks for total and wants to send the money immediately
    3. inquiry has UK yahoo email address + lists 44 area code ph# UK
    4. inquiry wants to pay with money order (don't know how the scam works with c.c.)
    5. last but not least inquiry sounds too good to be true!!!

    It's so sad that we have to advise our vacation rental owners to be suspicious and not to trust people anymore. Better to be cautious than sorry. Aloha, Pua

  2. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for your alert with the Honeymoon scamers. Others have tried this angle with me before.
    I do not reply to emails like this one.

    Hal Hester

  3. Thanks for the update…but since we came close to losing $5,000 on a much more professional scam than this one (and someone who understood the English language much better) with the “cashier’s check” scam, we know better. But for the first timers…..they need to be warned. These are real scum people!

  4. Thanks for the heads up. A physician should be able to spell simple English words correctly, don't you think?

  5. Thanks for the tip. I wish these people would just get a real job and leave the rest of us alone!


  6. Thank you!

    Dan Graham

    Mt. Baker / Glacier, Washington

  7. I received the message below as well as a few more afterwards asking me for more personal information for his boss to send me the money as his employer was covering the expense as a bonus.
    When my husband tried to contact him by phone and left a message, the e-mails stopped.
    We are both very confident that this too is a scam and other ideal vacation
    members should be aware of it.

    Here is the message that we received.

    "Good Morning Sir/Madam,
    My name is Robert Adams and I want to make enquiries concerning
    your vacation rental which you advertised on this website.I want to reserve a week in the month of March. I would like to know which week you have available and from which day you rent (preferably Saturday-saturday). The prefered date for the beginning of the vacation is March 10 and this is
    flexible. I am coming with my mother and 2 kids, we are coming for a vacation treat as I was not with the kids for this Holiday. I expect you to reply with available dates and the all-in cost for the duration, please contact me via email first so I can give you my contact details. I am presently in Alabama USA.
    I earnestly expect a relpy whether favourable or not."

  8. This is interesting. I dont know how people can get away with cashiers check fraud either.
    I am a future renter and our circumstances may sound too goood to be true...not sure. We are renting in august and paid in full by cashiers check in June. Our daughter is a cancer survivor and our family has had a rough couple of years. This vacation is what we need, so we are anxious to make sure everything is in order well ahead of time. I'm glad I find this as it may explain why i have not heard back from the owners yet. Perhaps they are waiting for my check to clear?