Derf Assist List > Scammed for Big Bucks

Just want to warn all my Derf Pals about a scam that I, yes brilliant me, got caught in. I will make it short but ugly.
We and another couple were looking for a condo in the keys for our annual February "get the hell out of the cold tour". We found a place on a very large, much used, popular home-away-from -home site. A site I have used many times without incident. I emailed to see if dates were available. I received a return email from "reputable rentals" saying yep the dates were good. After negotiations we settled on a price and a very official, signed, contract was sent requesting a wire transfer to Barclays Bank in England. I called the phone number on the sight on this home-away-from-home rental portal. The person on the other end told me, I'm in the car send me an email. I did. I thought all was well and wired the $3800.00! The email with the contract requested a receipt for the wire. I again called the number from the sight, and you guessed it, her email address had been hacked! My $3800 is gone, the trip is gone and I feel like the biggest idiot in the universe. My only help is my Son. Who is a lawyer, can recoup some of this, but I'm not too hopeful.
I am posting this on here to tell you all, never,never,never wire money for rental. If I had insisted on using my credit card I would only have been out the time we spent planning the trip. This home-away-from-home site has been having this problem since 2010!!! And has done little to take care of it. The email address was hacked on their site, but they say they have no responsibility. This site advertises as the safest rental site on the web. Well, they aren't, nor do they care about the renter because there are more of us out there and loosing one isn't their problem. They make their money off the owners who list their condos.
There is more to this Story but this is the short and ugly.
I'm angry, I'm bummed and I hope the scammers get theirs someday. I do believe in karma.

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlbug

What a disappointment! I'm so sorry. I hope you will stumble upon something good luck to make up for it.

July 1, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Snow

Oh no Albug! That is so awful! :( Does it make sense to write anything on yelp or similar sites?

When you say wire - do you mean interbank transfer, like we have here in Europe? Because that can sometimes be reversed. Or do you mean Western Union or similar? Is it normal in the US or for this site to transfer the entire amount in advance? I would think a deposit would normally suffice. And transfer to the UK for a US rental sound suspicious? Not blaming you, just thinking of things we can learn from this and watch out for.

See also:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/vanessagrout/2014/04/11/how-to-avoid-the-internets-hottest-scam-fake-vacation-rentals/

July 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMustang Sally

A few years ago there was an article in the local paper about that happening here in New Orleans. One person went to a house with a key he'd been sent, but it didn't seem to fit the door. A woman showed up, asked what he was doing and when he explained, she let him know it was her house and not for rent. The city council just voted to regulate AirBnB and other unofficial rentals, as the hotels, b and b's, and other rentals pay for licenses, are inspected, and if they rip someone off, there's recourse. Yes, they cost more but there's a reason. Sorry, Albug, that's a horrible experience no one should have. Next time, check here, I bet several of us know some good places that are trustworthy.

July 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenternaomi d

I'm behind in my rounds. Oh, Albug, this is full on suckitude. I am so sorry for you. I, too, believe in Karma. xoxo

July 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. G.