Don’t get scammed this vacation season

WASHINGTON – The air is getting warmer and the days longer, and that means summer vacation planning is in full swing.

Families are searching for nice vacation rentals that are also affordable – but it’s important to be aware of scams.

Websites such as Craigslist or Backpage are known for bargains and scams alike. The Huffington Post reports that families sometimes book a vacation home online, only to arrive at their destination to find they have no place to stay and their money is down the drain.

To make sure this doesn’t happen, book rentals at sites such as and check the address of your rental with Google Maps to see whether a property is legit before forking over the cash.

The Huffington Post also recommends calling the owner of the property and asking for references in addition to speaking with previous renters about their experience.

Some quick tips:

  • Use search engines to research the property.
  • Don’t send money with Western Union or a wire transfer – use a credit card or PayPal so you can dispute fraud should it occur.
  • Book directly and shy away from sites such as Craigslist that have no verification.
  • Watch for poor grammar and foreign phone numbers.

WTOP’s Veronica Robinson contributed to this report.

Follow @VRobWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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