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FOX 5 I-Team

Vacation Home Scams

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ATLANTA - Here's the scenario: You've saved money. You're planning your summer vacation, and you've rented a house or condo. So what could go wrong? Plenty.

Let's look at the red flags for vacation rental scams. Few of us can see the house or the condo before we rent it, so for the most part, we rely on pictures we see on the Internet.

Look at this beautiful beach view.

Who wouldn't want to look out your balcony and see that for a week?  Or, what about this lake view?

Again.  Beautiful.  But be careful of a bait and switch.  If you really want to make sure this is what you'll be seeing, ask for photos not on the rental site.

Or, Facetime with someone, and ask for a live look at the property.   Do this especially if you're looking at a very inexpensive property.   You want to make sure it's a good deal, not a rundown home.

A few other quick ideas for not getting scammed when all you really want is to book a good time:  Never pay with cash.   If you use a credit card, you can dispute the charge if you don't get what you pay for.

Use a trusted agent.   Often an agent who specializes in rental properties will have a lot of them.   If you're happy, then keep going back to the same person year after year.   Ask friends what rental agent they use and whether they were happy.

Don't skip over the feedback - the comments folks leave about the property. That can be valuable.

Finally, don't rush a decision.   Step back, think on it, trust your instincts.   Listen, if you're on the Internet, you see a great house  and say, 'Wow, I can't believe that's all they want for that place'. That's a red flag. Just double check. It might be a great deal, but it might not.

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