Vacation Home Fraud – Tips To Beat Scammers!

How To Be Vigilant For Vacation Home Fraudsters!

Reunion Resort is blessed with the finest vacation rental homes in Central Florida.
Beautiful furnishings, ornate finishes and spectacular views over 3 PGA golf courses create a level of desirability that makes Reunion so successful.
Sadly, the vacation industry in general is open to abuse by unscrupulous scammers who try to cash in on the mistakes of owners, guests and property managers to grab an opportunity to steal cash from unwitting tourists.
Even huge companies like booking.com have fallen foul of fraudsters along with other industry leaders such as HomeAway.  (Read more about Homeaway fraudsters in the Guardian Newspaper)

Neither Homeaway, nor Booking.com are involved in the fraudulent activities, but the fraudsters rely upon the sheer volume of queries to wait until someone slips up!
This blog post is a small and humble attempt to ensure ‘that someone’ is not you!

The fraudsters are relying mainly on one very fundamental technique to exploit both property managers and tourists alike, and that is the simple act of illusion!
In almost every case of reported online fraud, the perpetrator has relied upon a time-strapped victim to click on a link that is pretending to be good.
Before you know it, you have clicked a very innocent looking link, and you are doing business with someone that has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide their true identity!
Don’t be alarmed however, some simple patience can help you spot an evil prankster every single time!

How To Avoid Vacation Home Fraud – For Property Managers and Owners

  1. Never click links in emails that ask you to check your inbox, update your Listing site account (eg Homeaway, Flipkey), or to reactivate your suspended account
    (These are the number one techniques to take you to a false website for you to enter your login details in!)
  2. Always examine links in emails before clicking! (see the end of this blog post)
  3. Never share your listing site’s account’s login details with other staff members.
    This is very difficult if you are a property manager, but it is what fraudsters are hoping you will do.  The more people they can trick, the higher their chances of getting at your precious enquiries!
  4. Once they have your login details, you may never ever know it!
    The fraudsters keep a very low profile.  All they want are those email addresses of innocent victims looking for a fabulous vacation home deal!
    Once they have that, they will carefully target the enquirers with very realistic emails, and in many cases false websites hoping that their cut price deals with 50% savings for a luxury home become too irresistible for someone.
  5. Eventually, guests show up at homes, for a dream vacation, that they’ve paid thousands to a scamster for, without any knowledge to the owner or real agent!

Top Tips To Help Vacationers Avoid Fraud

  1. Always examine links in emails before clicking! (see the end of this blog post)
  2. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
    The irresponsibility of a great deal is what most fraudsters are relying upon!
  3. Always make sure you have travel insurance in place before your check in date, and that you are covered in the event of booking fraud.
  4. Always pay at least some portion of your accommodation by credit card, as most card providers offer payment protection.
  5. If you do begin your first discussions with a company, either by telephone or email, make sure that your second discussion is generated by you, using the official contact details on their official website (not by clicking on an email link!)
    If the company can’t find any records, you know it’s a scam!
  6. Sadly, please remember, that if you book a vacation with a fraudster, nobody owes you their home, or room when you arrive in Orlando!  They weren’t part of the scam, they knew nothing about it.  No matter how confused or angry you may feel!

Detecting ‘Phishing’ Or Fraudulent links in emails!

  1. In the vast majority of cases, this technique will keep you safe!
    Please learn how to do this, and show your family members and staff the technique to keep your business, vacation and money safe!
  2. Most fraudsters hide the identity of their fraudulent website under text in an email.
    For example, I may be advertising Disney Frozen Costumes 50% Off!
  3. In the example above, the link clearly invites you to some great deals to dress like Anna and Elsa, but if you click on the link, you are more likely to end up looking like a Minion or Harry Potter!
  4. The secret is to avoid clicking those misleading links until you have safely checked them out.
  5. Just hover your mouse pointer over the link for a second or so (DON’T CLICK IT!) and a pop up box very kindly tells you exactly what the link really is.
    If the pop-up looks like a load of odd numbers, characters, or an unexpected website, mark the email as spam or delete it, and don’t click on that link.
  6. In my Disney Frozen Costumes 50% Off! link, this is what you will see if you use this technique when looking at your emails!  Just hover over the link for a second or two, without clicking to reveal the true email address!Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 19.11.31

More resources about avoiding email Scams

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