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KFOX14 Investigates: Vacation home scam warning

Vacation home

The Better Business Bureau of El Paso is warning El Pasoans about a new scam targeting your next vacation.

This latest scam targets vacation rental homes and the BBB said El Pasoans have already been victim to it.

Booking your next big getaway has never been easier

With sites like Airbnb, VRBO, Home Away and others, you are now your own travel agent.

BBB President Marybeth Stevens, tells KFOX14 Investigates, travelers have had a big surprise when reaching their destination.

“We’ve had a number of people locally who have rented vacation homes and then it’s not what it appears to be,” said Stevens.

In some cases, the rentals don't exist at all.

Stevens said scammers have gotten really good at replicating the legitimate websites.

“The problem is that sometimes those sites are very easy to replicate and people aren’t looking at the carefully enough. You can't believe how often it happens,” said Stevens.

So here's what you can do:

Verify the website, double check the address. Sometimes the scammers change one letter in the company, like AirBnC.

Try testing the site, by searching for the same rental a few times.

Then Google the address of the rental.

“Read the review, Google it, see if you can match photos,” said Stevens. “We are talking about real scams where they use different pictures.”

Stevens said to search the real estate agent or homeowners name, don't be afraid to ask questions and never pay with cash or wire money.

“For vacations, pay with a credit card, its traceable. If they say they don’t take credit card, huge red flag,” said Stevens.

Also be careful if someone is pressuring you to book quickly.

“If they are pressuring you to make the sale right then, there is likely a problem,” said Stevens,

The BBB also encourages vacationers to read the contract carefully and ask questions

If you run across a vacation scam the BBB encourages you to report it to them.

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