(NBC News) – Some renters aren’t getting the vacation home they paid for this summer.
Thousands have been scammed this year by phony rental listings.
Tom Bartholomy of the Better Business Bureau says his organization is getting a flood of horror stories.
“You book a home, everything looks legitimate and then you fly across the ocean and show up and not only don’t find that rental, but there’s no home at all,” he explains.
Scammers are getting more savvy, duping consumers with rental listings using photos of homes for sale, or sometimes fraudsters copy real listings.
You can protect yourself by doing a reverse google image search on photos to see if they’re listed elsewhere.
Experts suggest only booking on websites such as AirBnB that can verify listings and offer protections, and avoid paying with a wire transfer, cashier’s check or payment apps such as Zelle and Venmo.
“Chances of recovery on this miniscule,” Bartholomy warns.
Instead, only pay with a credit card.