Beware of Rental Scams on the Outer Banks

Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports – WNCT.com
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You really can’t believe everything you see online – especially when it comes to advertisement for vacation rentals on the Outer Banks.

Unfortunately, according to Sergeant John Towler with the Kill Devil Hills Police Department, “The way we typically find out about it  is when a family shows up to start their vacation and somebody is already in the home that they thought they rented.”

However, there are red flags to keep in mind when you are searching the web for a vacation rental.

  • Misspelled words and bad grammar.
  • Extremely low rental rates way below what is generally seen on the Outer Banks
  • Requesting wiring of the deposit instead of using credit cards or paypal.

Craigslist.org gives specific ways to protect you from rental scams that may be on their site:

  • DEAL LOCALLY WITH FOLKS YOU CAN MEET IN PERSON—follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
  • NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM or other wire service – anyone who asks you to do so is likely a scammer.
  • FAKE CASHIER CHECKS & MONEY ORDERS ARE COMMON—BANKS WILL HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE when the fake is discovered weeks later.
  • CRAIGSLIST IS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY TRANSACTION, and does not handle payments, provide escrow, “buyer protection” or “seller certification.”
  • NEVER GIVE OUT FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal info, etc.).
  • AVOID DEALS INVOLVING SHIPPING OR ESCROW SERVICES and know that ONLY A SCAMMER WILL “GUARANTEE” YOUR TRANSACTION.
  • DO NOT RENT HOUSING OR PURCHASE GOODS SIGHT-UNSEEN—that amazing rental or cheap item may not exist.
  • DO NOT SUBMIT TO CREDIT OR BACKGROUND CHECKS until you have met the job interviewer or landlord/agent in person.

Another thing you can do to see if a rental found online is a legitimate rental is to copy and paste the address or description of the property into an online search to see if anything suspicious comes up. This “rental” may be a listed home on the market or already is a rental through a legitimate rental company. This may be a clue it’s a scam and not a rental.

But, the safest way to make sure your Outer Banks vacation home is actually yours when you arrive, is to contact a local rental company like Beach Realty & Construction, Kitty Hawk Rentals.

If you have a property which is or has been on the internet, you can search to see if it’s being used in a rental scam. Search your address or a snippet of your home’s description.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to deter the scammers since they are generally out of the country. However, if you have been a victim of this type of scam contact the Federal Bureau of Investigations internet crime division.

You know, you can always purchase your vacation home on the Outer Banks. Buying here on the Outer Banks and using a professional real estate agent doesn’t cost to have that representation. My commission is paid (split) through the sellers’ Brokerage. Sellers here have agreed to pay commission to the listing company and they have agreed to share the split to any real estate company representing the buyer.

Contact me today to start the search for your new home on the Outer Banks!

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