Scam of the day – June 1, 2012 – Summer vacation scams

Memorial Day is often considered to mark the unofficial start of summer and many of us are looking forward to our summer vacations.  Scammers, however, it seem don’t take much time off and summer vacation time brings a new batch of scams.  Recently a local Bed and Breakfasts on Block Island, New York was the victim of a scam that is being repeated around the country and about which you should be aware.  The scam involved a phony ad on Craigslist.  The advertisement merely copied photographs and text from the real B and B’s website and put up the phony ad on Craigslist.

TIP

Merely because you see an ad on a legitimate website, such as Craigslist, does not mean that the advertisement is legitimate.  No vacation website is able to confirm the truthfulness of all of the people who list on the websites.  Before you send any money, make sure that you are sending funds to the real vacation home or hotel owners.  Always be wary of people who ask you to wire the money which is  typical way scammers obtain their funds.  Confirm the legitimacy of the advertisement with some investigation of your own including calling a telephone number for the home or hotel that you know is correct.

Scam of the day – March 21, 2012 – Rental listing scams

This is another tried and true scam that keeps cropping up.  Recently there were reports of phony apartment listings on Carigslist for New York City apartments and a California youth soccer team that was scammed when it thought it was renting a house in Palm Springs for their state tournament.  In both cases, the victims lost the money they sent to the scammers who had no connection with the real estate.  Sometimes scammers will hijack real rental listings and alter the advertisements.  Other times the scammers will create phony ads for property they do not own or for property that does not even exist.

TIP

Whenever possible, meet the person renting the property in person at the property.  Also, confirm through local real estate tax records that the person actually owns the real estate he or she is seeking to rent to you.  Always  be wary if you are asked to wire money because once it is wired, the money is gone.  Check with the Better Business Bureau, local attorney general or Federal Trade Commission to assist in confirming that the renter is not a scammer.