While the incidence of being a vacation rental scam victim is still relatively low, it’s worth taking the time now to tighten up your online security.
Here at Homes and Rooms we offer several solutions for subscribers to protect themselves and provide confidence and security to their potential guests.
Have a professional rental website
Having your own dedicated website for your vacation rental property increases your credibility and gives potential guests the confidence that they are booking a real vacation property. Homes and Rooms subscribers are all offered their own high quality website designed specifically for the vacation rental market at no additional cost. Not only does a professionally designed website attract more guests, but it also gives them added confidence when making a reservation that this is not a vacation rental scam.
A popular vacation rental scam involves people posing as the owner of a property and taking reservation deposits. To provide guests with the highest possible confidence that they are booking their stay with the legitimate owner of an advertised property, Homes and Rooms employs a simple but effective owner verification system. This one-time process is for the safety and security of both our owners and their guests and provides real peace of mind against the scammers.
Combat email phishing
In order for a fraudster to gain access to the email account an owner uses for bookings and guest communication, they will often send legitimate looking emails asking for your details with links to fake websites that look identical to known and trusted websites.
One of the simplest checks to make when presented with a link in an email is to move your cursor over the link and look at the bottom of your browser. You will see the website address (URL) to where the link is going to direct you. In an email phishing scam, this URL will usually be completely different from that of the website you are expecting to visit. For example, instead of showing homesandroom.com/login, the link may show something like roomsiteuk.co/details.
If our subscribers are ever unsure about an email message they receive from Homes and Rooms or another website such as HomeAway or Airbnb, they can always access their login area by manually typing the appropriate web address into the browser as opposed to clicking the link included in the email.
At Homes and Rooms, once subscribers have logged into their account they will clearly see a message alert for any important information we need to receive or share. We’re also just a phone call away if they have any questions for us or want to report suspicious emails or a potential vacation rental scam – which we encourage everyone to do. We recommend they take the same precautions for all emails that come with embedded links.
Use Google Alerts
Free classified ad websites are rampant with scammers and those taking advantage of vacation rental owners are no exception. Often the vacation rental scam will involve the scammer collecting your property information and posting a fake listing with your property details but with their own phone number and email. From there, they will try to get a security deposit wired to them or perhaps even receive a full booking in advance from an unsuspecting guest.
The best way to combat this vacation rental scam is by creating a Google Alert with your property name and/or key property details. This way you will receive an email update whenever your property information is posted elsewhere online, alerting you to take appropriate action.
While we sincerely hope that our subscribers are never the victims of a vacation rental scam while renting their vacation property, they can rest assured that Homes and Rooms is working hard to help them stay as safe and secure as possible online.