Watch out as scammers are trying to take over vacation rentals. This impacts not only property owners, but anyone looking to book your next getaway.
Carey Everett, of Fayetteville, has a Myrtle Beach condo that he takes advantage of when he can escape to the beach, but when he can't use it, he rents it out. He was caught off guard when he heard from his property management company about a year lease on his vacation rental.
"Are you leasing your property out to someone? And I'm like no," Everett said.
His property management company emailed him a year-long lease that spelled out the details.
Everett said, "They just needed the keys."
He is thankful his vacation management company reached out to him before moving forward. He says, "Once they gain access to the place, it is hard to get someone out. They could have cleared out everything, the property and everything else and then, you know, that's how squatters and everything else begins."
Despite Everett stopping scammers from getting access to his vacation rental, it hasn't stopped the scammers from posting his Myrtle Beach condo for rent. His condo was listed for rent on a popular rental listing website. Everett says he's not behind it, as he only posts on VRBO.
On the fake listing, some red flags are the grammatical errors on the listing, plus it gives a specific phone number to call, telling potential renters not to contact through the website. Everett says these pictures posted on the scam listing, are old pictures that were once used.
The details on the property are also wrong, as the fake listing says 1 bed 1 bath, but it's actually 2 bedrooms, 1 and baths.
When ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson called the number listed on the posting, the number no longer works.
"I don't know how they piece everything together, but this could happen to anyone."
He now offers this advice to other property owners. "Make sure you check on your property or whoever you have monitoring your property because you can easily lose it and never have knowledge of it."
The Troubleshooter Takeaways for anyone looking to book a vacation rental is to pay attention to the details, don't get lured by too-good-to-be-true deals. A big red flag is strange payment requests, it's always best to pay directly through the booking website. Plus, remember paying with a credit card offers the best protection if anything goes wrong.
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