Hi guys, Attila here. Did you know that there are “sharks” out to scam unsuspecting Hawaii tourists by offering vacation rentals on Craigslist with deals too good to be true? It’s a real problem, especially now as the demand for travel to Hawaii is higher than ever.
So here’s how it works: a property listing shows up on Craigslist for an actual home that is or has been recently listed for sale or rent. The scammer picked up the images and description from the MLS or any number of Hawaii property management companies’ websites. The listing often includes a price that’s too good to be true and language that indicates a sense of urgency, such as “act now as this will go fast!” They almost always demand payment in cash and the listing has strange grammar and spelling errors.
Local police have seen a surge in rental scams on Craiglist. They advise ignoring the price and look for clues that the listing is a scam.
1. Look for clues
If the listing asks for payment in cash, has typos and weird spellings, do not proceed.
2. Use a reputable site and credit card
When searching for a vacation rental, use reputable sites that allows you to secure a deposit by credit card.
3. Know the terms
And lastly, never sign a deal without reading and understanding the terms and conditions. If you can’t find them, that’s a big red flag right there.
If you come across a suspicious listing or scam, contact the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov or the local authorities.
Let’s work together to keep these scammers from taking advantage of unsuspecting travelers!
I’m Attila, from Cylanda, stay safe out there.
PS. I recently was interviewed by Rob Kay, columnist for the Star Advertiser about how scammers are using caller ID spoofing to further their schemes. Check it out!