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Travel

Vacation rental scams are getting trickier – Red flags to watch for

The arrival of summer is fast approaching. Beaches are glistening with golden sand, and sales of barbeque equipment are on the rise. That can only mean one thing: it’s time to start thinking about a family vacation or a quick getaway.

As exciting as that might sound, there are several things that you need to keep in consideration before hitting the road. COVID-19 restrictions aside, there are other important things to worry about when booking a vacation. Tap or click here for 10 things to think about before finalizing your plans.

With Memorial Day less than a week away, tons of people are looking to get out and have some fun. But if you’re thinking about renting a vacation property, beware. Tons of rental scams are making the rounds.

Here’s the backstory

Scammers are always on the lookout for their next victim. They could try to find you at your front door, in a shopping mall or online. Vacation rentals are a favorite lure for fraudsters on the internet and will employ all sorts of tactics to part you with your money.

There are also dangers in using trusted services like Airbnb and VRBO. Both services have safeguards in place to protect renters and property owners, but some things, unfortunately, do slip through the cracks.

“From the AirBait n’ Switch, where individuals create false home profiles only for guests to show up to a home much dirtier, smaller or run down than in the photos, to last-minute cancellations forcing desperate guests to book a much more expensive option with the same host, Airbnbs are a prime example of ‘advance with caution,” Kim Komando explains.

How to stay safe

With COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed and summer holidays fast approaching, scammers will be out in full force. When searching online for deals or the best rates, make sure that you only use a reputable service.

Cybercriminals often create fake online ads for destinations at unbelievable rates. These listings generally require you to pay upfront. Proceed with extreme caution and ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate.

Scammers also know how to manipulate Google search results. The first answer to your query might not take you to an official website. It’s best to type the web address to official pages directly into your web browser instead of clicking links from search results.

Kim also suggests doing a quick sweep of any vacation rooms for hidden cameras or listening devices.

“Once you’ve arrived at your Airbnb or VRBO property, be sure to check everywhere for hidden cameras. Cameras today are camouflaged to look like anything from a USB power adapter to a smoke detector or even a pen,” she explains.

If you’re serious about privacy when you travel, Kim adds, consider investing in a professional RF signal detector. Tap or click here for more ways to find hidden cameras in an Airbnb or rental property.

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