The VRBO scammers strike again! But can I help?

When I read Grace Lou’s email, I couldn’t believe it.

I thought this problem had already been fixed. I believed I would never see another case like this again. But there it was, staring me in the face.

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Something’s still “phishy” about vacation rentals

Gilles/Shutterstock
Gilles/Shutterstock
If you think the words “vacation rental” and “phishing” are all but synonymous, you’re not alone. Just talk to Ann Schutte, who recently found a rental villa with a “million-dollar” view in Sedona, Ariz., through the rental Web site VRBO.com.

A woman claiming to own the property quoted her a $645 rate for five nights if she wired her the money. “After a number of e-mails back and forth, I agreed to the rental,” says Schutte, a property manager from Phoenix. “I received a contract. Everything looked correct on the contract. It even had the rental property address and logo. I signed the agreement, and wired the money through Western Union to the U.K.”
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Oh no, not another VRBO phishing scam!

Just when I thought it was safe to rent another VRBO vacation home, I received a complaint from Brit Railston about a rental in Utah that went terribly wrong.
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No sense of ownership in home rental phishing scams

The rental villa on the French Riviera that Sonia Guillaume found online looked picture-perfect. It featured an impeccably manicured garden, spacious living areas, a pool and stunning views of the medieval village of St. Paul de Vence.
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A VRBO phishing scam with an unhappy ending

Today I’m revisiting a case I first reported on back in November and followed up on last month. It involves Tania Rieben, who had rented a condo in Maui through VRBO.com.

Or at least, she thought she had.
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