Finding a vacation rental online can be as simple as a click of a mouse, but an Oahu woman lost $1,500 after booking one online.
“The scammer was talking with them, let them know that they needed to wire a down payment in order to reserve the property,” said Jason Kama, Hawaii Better Business Bureau marketplace manager. “The victim asked if they could use a check or credit card and that person said they couldn’t so they wired the down payment.”
When the victim asked to see the property in person, the scammer told the woman she needed to wire another thousand dollars first. That’s when she got suspicious and called the supposed poster of the ad who told her they didn’t know what she was talking about.
“The victim did double check that the address matched the business address,” Kama said. “The license matched the business license so it seemed reputable on face value.”
But the company says it only advertises properties on Kauai. The victim was responding to an ad for a rental property on Oahu.
“We helped them go through the listings and pull out the faulty ones but once we flagged them as suspicious,” Kama said, “and we’re kind of monitoring for that going forward but it’s all up to that site to take it down in a reasonable time.”
The Hawaii Better Business Bureau says if you’re told you can’t pay by check or credit card that should be a red flag.
Also, never wire money because once you send it, you can’t get it back if there’s a dispute.
Make sure you see the property with your own eyes or have someone vouch for the property for you.
It’s good practice to call the business directly and verify if in fact the property is in fact for rent or sale
If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to email@example.com.