BEWARE RENTAL SCAMS
Be wary of holiday rental scams, where fraudsters target people who are booking holiday rental properties abroad.
With these scams, the fraudster copies photos and information from a genuine listing on a property website and creates a false listing on another site. Should you enquire about renting that property for your holiday, the scammer will tell you that the property is in high demand and that the best way to secure it is to transfer a deposit immediately. However, after you’ve transferred the money you won’t be able to get in touch with the person you were in contact with — and your money will be gone.
“In some cases, consumers have paid thousands by money transfer — only to arrive at the destination to find that the accommodation doesn’t even exist,” said Martina Nee, spokeswoman for the Dublin-based EU consumer watchdog, the European Consumer Centre.
“In other cases, the accommodation does exist — but the email account of the host (the genuine holiday rental website) has been hacked.”
Should the email account of a genuine firm be hacked, a criminal will be accessing your email messages — even though you’re sending those messages to the correct address. In such cases, the criminal will know what villa or accommodation you’re enquiring about and will typically send you an email asking you to pay for your stay by international bank transfer.
“Do your research thoroughly before booking holiday rental,” said Nee. “Make sure you’re using a legitimate website and if the site provides a secure payment, stick with this. Never do a money transfer.”