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Online Travel Scams: Fake Vacation Rental Owners

Courtesy of HomeAway

Fake Vacation Rental Owners

Consumer advocate Christopher Elliott investigated a number of cases involving HomeAway, which also owns VRBO.com, in which hackers accessed vacation owners’ accounts with phished usernames and passwords and extorted money from unsuspecting bookers. The site has since taken some measures like issuing fraud alerts and posting warnings on its sites about phishing. To scope out the person on the other end of a transaction, try making contact by phone—and then pay by a traceable method like a credit card. Another rental site, Flipkey, has introduced measures to make bookings more secure: everyone who lists a property first goes through a background check; most users must now accept credit cards; and anyone who posts a review must have stayed at the respective rental property (a standard that its parent company, TripAdvisor, has yet to adopt).

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