By now, most people are locking in their Summer plans and for many, that includes a vacation rental. When conducting business online, there’s always a risk of becoming a victim of scammers. To help ensure you’re not falling victim, read on for our helpful tips.

When researching a property, gravitate towards listings with lots of good pictures that adequately show the space you’ll be renting. Be leery of blurry, grainy and/or lack of photos. This is your money so remember it’s okay to ask a lot of questions. Try to make sure you’re speaking with the host by asking questions about the area instead of just questions directly related to the property. A true host should be able to answer your questions in detail.

If you’re not using a reputable vacation rental site, always proceed with caution. Scammers are notorious for posting fake listings of all kinds on sites like Craigslist. Never send any payment that can’t easily be reversed or disputed. Scammers tend to request payment in the form of Western Union, MoneyGram, cash, check, Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, Amazon and even prepaid gift cards. Most of those payment types are irreversible and hard to trace. Scammers move the funds almost immediately to another bank account and close the first account. The chances of you getting your money back after that are slim. Using a credit card is the best way to proceed as there is another layer of payment protection for users.

If you do discover that you sent money to a rental scammer, contact the financer you used to send the money and tell them the transaction was fraudulent as soon as possible. While they may not be able to get your money back, it’s important to alert them of the fraud.

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