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Vacation Rentals in Kauai, Maui, Oahu & the Big Island of Hawaii

Online advertising and fraud prevention

Fraud Prevention Tips

The internet has made it easier to do many things, including renting a vacation rental direct from the owner.  Occasionally though, an unscrupulous person will try to take advantage of others, so when doing anything online, it pays to check out who you are dealing with to make sure they are legitimate.  Fortunately, over 99% of what is out there is legitimate, but you don’t want to be taken advantage of by that tiny percentage that is not. At the top are tips for Rentors, and at the bottom are some tips for Owners of Vacation Rentals.

Here are some tips to make sure you have a good experience here:

1)  A warning sign of fraud is often an unusually low price in relation to similar rentals.

2)  When contacting an owner, be wary if there is any uncertainty as to the exact whereabouts of the rental, or any suspicious behavior you notice regarding them.  Get their phone number and talk to them personally instead of just by email.

3)   It is a good idea to ask for references, and to actually contact them.  A reference does not have to be a prior renter, it can be a cleaning service or property management company.

4)  A good indication of a legitimate rental is if they also have an established web site for it; always ask if they do and check it out.

5)  If possible, pay with a credit card or Paypal instead of a debit card, money transfer, money order, cashiers check or personal check.  If there is a dispute credit cards offer more protection in the event of a scam, and Paypal is usually helpful in disputing charges if fraud is involved..

6)  You can ordinarily dispute credit card charges within 60 days of the charge.  Be extra cautious if the travel date is more than 60 days away.

7)  Don’t give your credit card information over the phone unless you made the call to them and know you are dealing with a reputable person or company.  Never disclose any other personal details, such as checking account or social security number.

8)  Be wary of anyone who wants you to send money via Western Union or Money Gram.  This is not always a scam by any means, but just a red flag to be aware of.

9)  Be sure you get a completed copy of the rental agreement before you send any money.  This should contain the arrival and departure dates, name of the property, all rental and other fees and due dates, and the names of all individuals involved.

If you feel you or others have been the victim of a person who has a current listing in our web site, please contact us and let us know the details of why you think it is fraudulent.

If you feel you are a victim of fraud from anywhere on the internet, please go to this site: http://www.ic3.gov/
This is the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).

Mahalo, and have a great trip … do not be too worried about fraud as it is extremely rare, but do be aware and take precautions.

Fraud Prevention Tips for Owners

1) A common scheme is for someone to send a check or money order for more than the amount due. Then, they will want a refund for the balance. They hope that by the time you find out their check or money order is no good you will have already sent them the money. It can take several days for checks to clear, and longer for checks originating out of the country. You may even see the deposit added to your account, but if the bank determines the check is bad they can take it back out. Never accept more than the amount due.

2) Obtaining payment by well known credit card company or through a payment system such as Paypal gives you more protection than by accepting checks. If accepting checks, make sure before giving any refunds that the check has cleared with the bank. Remember, just because the amount shows up in your account does not necessarily mean it has cleared.

3) Another recommendation for protecting your interests is to have a Rental Agreement with all of your terms and policies spelled out. Be sure to get a signed and dated copy from your rentors. If you don't do this, you have very little legal recourse if problems should arise (and sooner or later they will).

 

New Vacation Rental Specials in Hawaii by Owner