The Winhall Police & Rescue Department have received several complaints regarding vacation home rental fraud. Complaints were received last winter and they have begun to recur again this winter.
The offenders in these cases go on-line and find a legitimate real estate advertisement. The offenders steal and modify the advertisement from a vacation property for sale advertisement to a vacation property for rent. The fraudulent advertisement is then posted on a web site like Craigslist or HomeAway.com.
They use rental contracts that look legitimate, and they ask that the rent money be deposited into an account. The property is not really owned by the offenders and when the scam victims arrive for their vacation, they can’t get into the property and learn that they have been scammed. The scammers are frequently outside of the USA, in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, and South Africa.
The Winhall Police recommend that anyone who is renting a vacation home or condominium be cautious. Use a high degree of suspicion and verify any and all information. When the homeowner will only take payment that is deposited into an account, this should make you suspicious. Making your rentals through a local real estate office should ensure that the rental is legitimate.