The vacation rental scamIt's every traveler's worst nightmare: finding a great deal online for a vacation rental only to discover, upon arrival, that the address doesn't exist. Or the keys don't work. Or the telephone number for the person that took your deposit is suddenly out of service. But according to Elizabeth Walling, Internet crime analyst at the National White Collar Crime Center, nearly 8,000 rental-related complaints were reported to the center between June 2011 and June 2012, including vacation rental scams.
When you think you have found the perfect rental, at the perfect time with the perfect price, you want to jump at the opportunity, according to the National White Collar Crime Center. Scammers rely on the impulsiveness of the vacation renter.
Avoid it: Before paying, do your homework. Run a search on the rental address or rental description. If the same (property) is for rent in San Francisco, Calif., and Savannah, Ga., you have a scam on your hands. Also, search the name of the individual or business providing the rental. If they've pulled the scam before, someone might have complained on a scam-busters site, giving you the chance to walk away.