How to Protect Your Orlando Vacation Rental from Hoax Guests

Posted by Team Donovan on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 at 1:08pm.

The popularity of today’s vacation rentals gives real estate investors a new way to generate revenue and maximize the value of their Orlando homes. But if you’re not careful, you could become a target for scams and hoax guests looking to take advantage of the rental market.

Knowing how these scams work helps home investors avoid financial loss, property damage, and other threats to holiday homes. Florida attracts millions of visitors each year, increasing the chances that homeowners will encounter hoax guests. 

Spotting a Hoax Guest before You Book Your Home 

Homeowners can get a sense of a prospect’s interest by the language they use. Scammers may use poor grammar and spelling or they repeat points they’ve already made. 

Hoax guests may give more information than you need in the initial correspondence. Offering too much information about the reason for their visit or their occupation could be a sign of a hoax guest. 

Scammers often send out mass emails. Incorrectly describing your single-family home as an apartment or condo could mean they’re not really interested in your rental. Watch out for same-day bookings and the use of suspicious email addresses too. 

Don’t Get Scammed When Processing Payments or Granting Access to Your Home 

Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rental websites have payment processing methods that make it easy for you to accept online payments. Scammers may try to pay using another method such as a wire transfer, a certified or cashier’s check, or cash. 

Reluctance to use the system you have in place can be a sign that you aren’t dealing with a legitimate renter. They may suggest a payment method that’s less secure than your own. 

Here’s another warning sign: hoax guests may offer to pay you more than the rate you’ve listed. This can be part of an elaborate scam involving a request to refund the overpayment made using a stolen credit card. 

Smart locks, lockboxes, and other automated check-in methods protect homeowners and guests. You should deny any request to deliver your home’s keys through the mail. 

Keeping Your Home Investment Safe for the Future 

If something doesn’t seem right about a guest or their arrangements, trust your instincts, and deny the booking. In 2018, fraud related to travel and online travel agencies went up by about 37% according to Forter’s Fifth Annual Fraud Index report. 

The short-term rental industry is booming, which is good news for home buyers who want to make extra income. But it’s a situation that attracts scammers and hoax guests who try to take advantage of homeowners. 

Vacation rental bookings are worth hundreds or thousands of dollars; they can be made with a few clicks, and there’s no physical product to deliver. These and other factors attract hoax guests, scams, and other fraud risks. 

Homeowners need to understand the risks to their holiday homes. Florida attracts travel guests from around the world. The more you know, the more you can avoid these risks and protect your investment for the future. 

Team Donovan helps today’s home investors buy and sell luxury holiday homes in Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida area. You can find the perfect vacation rental home that attracts visitors all year round while getting the highest return out of your real estate investment. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today for a free consultation at (407) 705-2616. 


Image by mastersenaiper from Pixabay