If you’re thinking about using a vacation rental this year, you’ll need be really cautious with your online search.
The Better Business Bureau says more than 40% of online shoppers have found a fake listing for rental homes and vacation homes, and more than 5 million people have lost money to scams like these.
The BBB says the posts are convincing.
That’s because scammers will take photos from real property listings on other sites, but they’ll list them for a lower price and add their own contact information.
“The crooks are good. They’re very good at what they do. They’re organized, they’re industrious, they get around the filters,” says Steve Baker, an international investigation specialist for the BBB. “And the filters are by algorithms, and we don’t really know what algorithms amount to.”
The BBB advises people to stick to sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. Those sites have secure messaging systems as well as secure payment systems.
Something else you can do to protect yourself is to do a reverse image search of the picture before you book the rental property.