Ashley Moody warns Floridians against vacation rental scams

Last week,Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody launched the “Summer Scam Series.”

The series, which focuses on consumer protection, describes common scams seen during the summer months. Moody’s kicks off the series with a consumer alert on vacation rental scams.

These scams involve fake advertisements offering vacation rental properties. The scammers behind these advertisements often ask for an application fee or a security deposit. Once the payment has been made, the rental advertisement can disappear with the consumer’s money. Families may also show up on the day of the holiday and find that the actual owners of the property have no record or intention to rent. Moody’s said it wanted to protect vacationing Floridians and the millions of tourists who travel to Florida each year from this program.

“Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Scammers will take advantage of this by creating fake vacation rental listings in hopes of stealing personal information and money. ‘State or out of state, be sure to take extra precautions when renting a vacation home to avoid getting burned out this summer vacation season,’ Moody said.

Tips to avoid vacation rental scams:

• Be aware that registrations forcing consumers to leave the online platform or website to pay are a major red flag;

• Check if the photos of the rental property are affiliated with other listings using a reverse image search;

• If anything looks suspicious, ask for additional photos of the ad;

• Use a reputable rental website that offers fraud protection or payment transfer options;

• Make payments through a payment portal on the listing’s website to ensure the money is locked in until the keys are in hand;

• Do not rely solely on email to contact the owner and beware of listings with foreign phone numbers;

• Check reviews and, if possible, visit the property to ensure everything is up to standard; and

• Paying for a rental with a credit card because it is easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.

Florida Daily
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