What comes to your mind when you start planning a trip?
For most of the people it starts with enthusiasm, packing, and bookings but for some, it might also turn out to be trouble.
Amidst all the excitement, we also look for the options to save extra bucks in the deals and that comes mostly with the hotels or the option that we choose to stay.
But that could also turn out to be the cause of sorrow and landing us in trouble.
With a plethora of staying options people are getting advanced and choosing homestays and vacation rentals over hotels.
Less is not always more, read on further to know how safe is your vacation rental booking.
What is Vacation Rental Scam?
Scammers have now started targeting the tourists who book property or rental home for their stay options.
You must have heard of some of the sophisticated homestay sites such as Airbnb or Couchsurfing? Or it could be the local homestay option.
There are plenty of the scams in the market, we have listed a few for you.
Type 1: Fake listings
These types of listings will show you the property with the flashy and attractive images, but the reality is these properties don’t even exist.
It is easy to get images from the internet of what your dream homestay would look like.
Conman takes the advantage and posts their individual ads with fake reviews and ratings from a different account which in fact isn’t even real.
Type 2: Stealing listing information
Crooks often steal the information available on the website of certified homestays and re-direct the travellers to their own bank accounts.
The travellers find out reality only after they visit the original property.
Type 3: The Fake booking websites
And the most common of all where the scammers make a similar looking website and lure the victims with attractive offers.
Guess what is the easiest way?
The cybercriminals offer a heavy discount with a catch to book outside the secure booking options of the website or redirect the victim to a personal account.
Once the payment is made the victim becomes miserable complaining about several incidences.
Either the booked place never exist in reality, or the booking gets cancelled automatically and sometimes the owner never turning up to unlock the door!!
Yesss, You could not Retrieve your money or pain!
But You can Still, Alert your fellow citizens with your painful experience regarding this Travel Scam.
Who knows, The next victim might be from one of your Family, Friend or a Client. Don’t let it Go Away!
Victims of Vacation Rental Scams
- College students who are looking for budget stay options
- Travellers looking for homestays over a hotel
- Travellers who prefer booking websites like Airbnb or Couchsurfing
Case Study: The Scammer who put India to shame
The two Malaysian Couchsurfers chose Airbnb host in India for their weeklong stay on Nov 27, 2016.
The trusted Couchsurfers accused Rishab their Indian host from New Delhi, of cheating them. According to Wong Hwa Yo, one of the tourists, he gave US$1,000 for currency exchange and to settle the pending bills to Rishabh.
Rishabh on the other hand only returned Rs 30,000 (approx 420 US$), giving a lame excuse of demonetization in the country.
Rishabh asked the tourists to collect their money after a few days but the statement never turned out to be a commitment.
Turned out that after the duo demanded the remaining amount back, the man told them to leave and refused to take their phone calls.
It left the tourist with a bitter experience and ending up filling a case against their conman host.
When it comes to money, never trust people with it. Safe transaction practices will land you to have a great memory of the trip.
Being prepared for the unexpected never really hurts; make sure the deal is safe & secure in order to avoid getting into trouble.
Be very wary of the transaction methods that you use, it might often lead you to the unseen trouble and end up resulting your experience bitter.
Yesss, We Defend Frauds could not Retrieve your money or pain!
But We can Still, Alert your fellow citizens with your painful experience regarding this Travel Scam.
Who knows, The next victim might be from one of your Family, Friend or a Client. Don’t let it Happen!
Prevention Tips of Vacation Rental Scam
- Trust Google: Indeed Google is your mate when it comes to protecting you. Search for the listed property if it really exists; be an insatiable goat and master your researching skills.
- Choose well-established Host: Sure not all homestays are a scam and can ensure to save extra bucks but the best practice is to choose safety over discount.
- Pictures speak the truth: Do not rely on the photos uploaded by the host instead look for the photos uploaded by the travellers. Performing a Google reverse image search is an added option.
- Talk the Deal: Ask for phone numbers and talk to them. You can also search for the information of the person with the phone number. Enquire about the locality and surrounding and ask more details about the destination.
- Read as many reviews as you can; if possible contact these reviewers and ask for a picture.
- Never pay outside the sites when you are booking with Airbnb or other similar websites
Bonus Tip: Red flags to help you identify the Scam
- The uploaded pictures will have watermarks from a site
- Scammers are not bothered about your personal info or ID
- They will ask you to deposit money in a private bank account
- They are reluctant to give any contract or confirmation of the booking
- They urge you to pay ASAP
- They provide very vague details
Have you ever encountered any such ads? We want to hear about it — report it to us whether you lost money or not, or simply let us know about it in the comments below.