Delawareans have already started making their summer vacation plans. And state officials suggest being cautious as you do so.
The Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit warns you to be careful when looking for a vacation rental.
Christian Wright heads that unit and explains how you can be scammed.
“Somebody with a vacation home may be, for example, advertising it on VRBO, which I thinks stands for Vacation Rental By Owner, but a VRBO.com. What a lot of scam artists then do is they essentially scrape the information from these legitimate sites - so they will take the photos, they’ll take the description and they’ll put essentially all of that on Craigslist,” said Wright.
Wright says once the information is on Craigslist, scammers will advertise the rental for a much, much lower amount than the place is actually renting for.
Wright says their goal is to get someone to send them money - for example $500 for a rental that is actually $2,000 - to reserve the rental. He says the person then shows up and is NOT allowed to use the property because they don’t have a contract with the actual owner.
Wright suggest remembering that if a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.
“Meaning if you’re going to get a house two streets off the boardwalk in Rehoboth in July for $750 for a week, something is wrong there - absolutely,” Wright said.
If you think you’ve been scammed, you can call the Attorney General’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424.