How to avoid a vacation rental scam online?

By June 19, 2019
vacation rental

We all need a good vacation. Planning a vacation is even more interesting, exciting. The Internet plays a very important role in vacation planning. You can search for the best places to visit, the best restaurants, the cuisine, the lifestyle, shopping malls, transport facilities and even the best and the most economical places to stay in. Now if you come across a rental home that is beautiful to look and cheaper than what other rental homes have to offer, will you not be lured into paying for such homes? It is quite legit to do that. What if the rental house is a scam and a trap for innocent travelers.

There have been many cases of vacation rental scam online where the tourists have taken the house on rent and later they found out there is no existence of such a house or maybe the house was given on rent but not to the holder of the website. This is the general scenario of vacation homes scam and it is quite simple. It generally involves a fake listing of property, requesting payment for the property, after transferring the payment, the communication ends. In the end, you will lose your money and at the same time, you will have no proper place to stay. Be a wise traveler in today’s world and don’t let the scammers fool you.

Being a wise traveler begins with knowing the types of vacation homes scam,


  • The scammer will do fake listings regarding the property of a rented house. They will entice you to make payments by saying that the entire amount has to be made for renting out the property. Once you transfer your amount, they will transfer your money to another bank account. Later they will remove their website and all other particulars regarding the property. Before you can even go to your dream vacation, a chunk of your money will be lost. This has been the most case scenario of vacation rental scams online.
  • The scammer rents a property to rent out the same property in fraudulent terms. They will either collect the first and last year’s rent, security deposit or any other form of money. They squeeze out as much money as possible in different terms. After which they will leave the town leaving no existence of the rented property.
  • The scammer gets access to renting websites (websites showing properties on lease). They take pictures of the concerned property and information of the property. Later on, they forge the information of the property and show it as vacation rental scam. This is one of the dangerous vacation rental scams online. Most importantly, these kinds of vacation homes scam are difficult to detect.

Avoiding scams is not a big deal. You can easily avoid scams.  You need to be a little careful and you can easily avoid the vacation home scam.


Checking price details

It gets really exciting when you come across a vacation home whose price is much lower than others. You probably start feeling lucky because you are getting a rented house at a much lower price. There is a lot of factors that have to be considered before determining the price of the hotel. At first, check other properties of that area. What prices they have to offer and then you can easily compare that with your property. This will give a better understanding of the rates of that area. Other than that, check the rooms and amenities and the type of residence they are offering. The price varies that greatly.

Absence of the rental agreement.

Do not trust websites who do not have a rental agreement. Every reputed hotels and agencies have their own rental agreement. This is not the right place if the hotel or agency does not have a rental agreement.

Proper Payment

When it comes to online booking, choose the payment method wisely. Scammers generally prefer the payment to be made in cash, check or wire transfer before you arrive at any place. Don’t fall into that trap! They get the money from you; transfer the money into another account and will commit a fraud right under your nose. You can use your credit card to make such payments. Using a credit card, you can easily recover your funds. Generally, trusted agencies are friendly in settling about the payment mode in case you want other payment options.


Photographs of classy rooms and chic décor may not always be real. Photographs can deceive you more into vacation rental scams online. Such pictures can be photoshopped. The quality tells a lot about the pictures. You can also tell the person you are in contact with to give you additional pictures. Or, you can tell that to video call and show you the rooms.          

A proper research

First and foremost, it is important to conduct proper research about you the rented house. Google has made this work easy for tourists. The address for the rented house must be given. Check that address on Google maps along with the property. You can make sure if any property exists on the given location. Once you are sure that such property actually exists. You can search for the property on Google. If you get to see that the same property has been listed on many rental service sites. You can easily get the reviews from those sites. Honestly, reviews speak better than any article. You can check the price details of other properties in that area and compare it with your property. Lastly check the owner’s name, ownership of the rental website, the property taxpayer and images of the property. Lastly, make sure that the same property information has not been given by two people.


Check whether the ownership details are legitimate or not. There have been many cases where the owner rented the house for residential purpose but the scammers took this advantage. They have forged the information and produced it on other websites. It is necessary to confirm the ownership of the concerned person. Ask for document proofs for matching real owner and what has been said about the internet.

Take your time

Your rail or flight tickets are not tomorrow. You have got a lot of time left before your vacation. Do a thorough investigation and pay for a property. Researching about vacation scams online can take up a lot of your time. Be wise and don’t worry about your rented house during vacation.


There have many cases of rental vacation scam where tourists suffered at a huge cost.

There were a retired couple John Doner and Nancy Doner in California who had planned their trip to New York. They rented a home through and which claimed to provide free laundry service, free airport transfers and a 20% discount. On the manager’s saying, the Doners wired the cash. But there on something went wrong, the website disappeared from the internet and later it was found that the site was copied that stole listing from a rental site.

It was the Donors, it can be you too!   


The Internet can be a boon as well as a curse. All of it depends on how well you can use the internet. Tourists have got a lot of help from the internet during vacations as well as faced the curse of online rental scams. Wisely use the internet and know more about scams. Researching about scams may take up a time. But you don’t have a vacation tomorrow right? Do not rush and investigate about the property you are renting into. People who have to the vacation spot may know more than what the internet knows. Talk to them about the vacation homes. There are many travel websites where people give reviews for a particular place. Reviews are priceless, so check them out. Trust your instinct when you find something suspicious. Do not hesitate to clear out your suspicion. Investigate the difference in attitude between a professional agent and a fake agent. Vacation home scams affect both the landlords and tenants in many cases. Do as much double checking as possible. Vacation rental scams online can happen anywhere. This fraudulent vacation home scam has turned many vacation dreams have turned into nightmare. Do a little bit of homework and double checking for enjoying your vacation peacefully!