Vacation rental expert offers tips on avoiding scams

Anthony Lipschitz is the chief executive of iStopover, a site that connects homeowners who have spare rooms to rent with travelers looking for affordable accommodations. With several high-profile cases of vacation rental customers being ripped off — including, ahem, some of my colleagues — I wanted to find out how to avoid becoming a victim.

Here’s how to avoid this big vacation rental mistake

Margot Rowland and her husband just wanted to take their grandchildren on a memorable journey to Paris. So she scoured the HomeAway site and found the perfect vacation home for the family. But as their travel plans were coming together, she made a wire transfer mistake that the bank could not reverse. And now the trip and their $3,000 are in jeopardy.

Pay for your vacation rental with a wire transfer? Yes, but not this way

You’ve found the perfect vacation rental. The owner asks you to pay via wire transfer. Should you do it? Meir Hurwitz, of Brooklyn, N.Y., did, and now he’s out nearly $17,000.

He’s not the first to be taken in by a vacation rental fraud and likely won’t be the last. Over the years this site has carried many stories warning about vacation rental scams. Many of those involved wire transfers.