Lodging plans gone awry? We can help.

So, you showed up to your vacation rental and it wasn’t what you paid for. Scammers use fake photos to sell rental properties that don’t exist. Often, you don’t find out you’ve been the victim of a scam until you arrive onsite for your summer getaway. Don’t let a bad booking get you down this summer break, we’re here to help. We’ve got some helpful resources to guide you through this vacation hiccup! 

If it looks too good to be true, it might be. When the price of the rental property and the photos just don’t match up, trust your gut. The FTC advises consumers to “look out for super cheap rates for premium vacation properties”. If you’ve come across one of these scams, we urge you to report it to the FTC’s Complaint Center.

FraudSupport.org has you covered. If you’ve experienced a rental scam, please visit FraudSupport.org for resources and next steps. We’ll provide you with situation-specific action steps that you can take immediately! 

Now that you’ve reported the incident and you’re ready to get back to finding a new rental, we’ve got some tips to help you defend your cyberself:

  1. Before you book a property, be sure to check the host’s reviews. Airbnb and most other hosting websites offer this feature. If the owner has plenty of five-star ratings from previous tenants, that’s a green light. 
  2. Ensure that you are using a secure site for booking. A secure site will always begin with “https://” rather than “http://”.  If there’s no “s”, it’s not secure. 
  3. Use a credit card to pay for your travel plans. Credit cards offer you fraud protection, which makes them ideal for online bookings like this. Keep your debit card out of travel plans if at all possible. 
  4. Consider conducting an online search to verify the property. Looking up the owner’s name, the property address, and photos of the property can help you detect a scam.

These small steps will dramatically increase your online safety. Once you’ve taken these preventative measures to defend your cyberself, you can get back to your vacation worry-free!