Today’s home-sharing economy can be controversial. A lot of people have been scammed online on fake vacation rentals. Usually, planning a vacation starts with optimism and excitement and of course in the internet. Searching online can lead one to descriptive blurbs and glossy photos and pointless promises as many people post property for rent over the web.
Before the online option, the search for private vacation rentals was impractical and slow. People had to trade some phone calls, coordinate to solve all types of issues and mail printed packages. Huge hotels are built based on the desire of rich travelers for luxury and refusal to cope with the process. But online portals came into existence. Suddenly, everyone’s in the mood to share and there is positive increase of house sharing. There are also sophisticated channels that try to protect renters by offering user comments, secure payments and star ratings. However, deceit can still take place.
Vacation rental scams are available in various forms. A number of web portals are managed by tech-savvy individuals that are not connected to the actual real estate. They use search engine optimization as a method to attract users and sell the lead to real agents who tend to have the cost offset with higher rent.
Additionally, some would-be vacationers post amazing photos of fictitious properties. After getting the renter hooked, the phony landlord will get an upfront deposit and disappear. Victims don’t know that they have been cheated until few days or weeks later as they visit the property in person. So if you are in the market to rent a property online, you need to protect yourself. Follow the pointers below to fight scam.
Don’t Let Pictures Fool You
Be wary of the Photoshopped property pictures. Tell the owner to give you more pictures. You can expect an honest lesser to have plenty of pictures at hand. Also, you can ask your agent to make use of technology such a Skype or Facebook for a live showing of the property. Google’s Street View feature and Google Earth can be used to confirm the existence of a property for rent.
Do Not Pay with Cash
Usually, criminals prefer to get paid by cash through money transfer services. You have to use your credit card instead. With major credit card companies, you can get the money you lose on fraud. There are also reputable websites to have your security funds held in escrow. They will act like middlemen to ensure that you have deposited funds before you can get keys. Also, a number of portals provide insurance against fraud. However, the service can be expensive and will not cover much.
Use a Reputable and Trusted Agent
Of course, you will have to pay your agent. However, he is the person who will show you authentic listings or check a property in person for you. Just make sure that you check the agent’s license.
Confirm Legitimacy of the Ownership
For all documents and ownership, confirm the name of the owner on the lease is similar to the one shown on appraiser records for public properties. Then, let hire a lawyer to review the lease.