Hopefully this past holiday season you had the opportunity to join family and friends to celebrate holiday cheer. Whether you traveled cross-country or just to the next town, hopefully you did not fall victim to the latest internet scam – vacation rental fraud.

Victims have paid thousands of dollars to rent occupied homes. When the renters arrived at what they thought would be their temporary home-away-from-home, they were met with the upsetting words “I hate to say it to you, but this house is not for rent. You have been scammed.”  Unfortunately this was the case for several families hoping to rent beachfront homes in Fort Lauderdale.

Vacation rental websites post photos of homes as clearinghouses claiming the homeowners are listing their properties for rent. Scam artists are increasingly taking advantage of this arrangement by falsely listing properties without the owners’ knowledge or consent. The thieves are asking renters to pay thousands of dollars upfront. Not only are the thieves getting away with the unsuspecting renters money, they are avoiding prosecution. Considering the victims are from other countries and the homeowners are not being victimized, it does not fall under local authorities’ jurisdiction.

How can you avoid falling victim to vacation rental fraud? Fraud Dog says that you should do your due diligence and find out who owns the property by searching the internet, and county/city property tax websites to avoid similar vacation rental scams. Also ask for recommendations of other people who have rented there. By acquiring the names and phone numbers of others who have stayed at the vacation rental home, you can double-check that the property is indeed for rent. Bottom lines, do your due diligence, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t fall for the “you pay half upfront” scam. The fraudster is only interested in getting the fast cash and the fraudster will move on to other victims before you realize you have become victim to vacation rental fraud.

If you are in need of fraud investigation services, contact Contego Services Group today. Under the leadership of Linda Webb, The Fraud Dog, Contego has the knowledge and expertise to help you resolve your fraud case. Whether it’s mortgage fraud, insurance fraudworkers compensation fraud or any other type of fraudulent activity, Contego and The Fraud Dog will work together to help you and your company. For more information, call 1-855-WE-SWARM today.

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