Just wanted to pass along my story in hopes that it may prevent someone else from falling prey. Answered an ad on Craigslist offering a vacation rental home in Eastham. Since we were looking last minute and this place was available we jumped on it.
They had 6 or 7 pictures of the place and it looked pretty nice and the price was right. They said they would accept Paypal, Direct transfer, or Western Union. Western Union was their preferred method because it was instant whereas the other two options required 2 weeks to clear.
Since we were running out of time we sent the money via Western Union -- and never heard from the person again! I try to think what red flags I should have seen - maybe the fact that they were definitely steering me towards using Western Union? I don't know. The address they were using is Old Orchard Rd. Sorry this happened to you. We had an instance last week where a poster questioned the inexpensive rent being asked at a Boston apartment.
It was clear from the site that it was all a scam. Craigslist warns people under their "avoid scams" to never wire money by Western Union. You have no protection when doing this. If you haven't already reported to Craigslist, you should so others won't have the same awful thing happen to them.
I have rented cottages here and apartments in Europe and I always check reviews of the company or the apartment. I would hesitate to rent anywhere where I couldn't find a recommendation or couldn't speak directly to the owner.
I google the property and the owner's name to see if anything odd turns up. Also sorry this happened to you! But as ting posted, the use of WU is definitely a red flag that should have been a warning I am so sorry this happened to you and i hope it has not ruined your vacation.
I think if you are renting online and the price seems a bargain for the location and amenities described, beware. I always book a place through a site that will take a credit card for the deposit, that way you can file a claim to get your money back if needed.
Craig's list is not a good place to look for reputable rentals. Instead, choose a site like weneedavacation. I would always check with the town to see who the owners of the property are and get their contact information.
First and foremost you need to make sure that the person you are paying actually owns the property. I am sorry that this happened to you. Summer is a high demand time for all kinds of tourist rentals and some unscrupulous people take advantage of that. So where are you going to be staying Jazzy?
I hope you can somehow put this out of your minds and enjoy your Cape Cod holiday. Lots of good advice already -- the sites that attract scammers are the freebies like Craig's -- and the credit card payment is generally good advice, although there are plenty of people I'm one of them who prefers a check -- but when you send me a check, it goes to my house, which you can find very easily with a quick Google search.
All good advice and I appreciate the kind words.
Since we lost quite a bit of money we skipped the Cape this year and are doing some fun things locally. But I had no experience with Western Union and no idea it is such a haven for scammers - as is Craigslist. I am so sorry that this has canceled your vacation plans.
That is just awful. I hope that for the scammers, what comes around goes around.
Please report this to the Massachusetts District Attorney's Office for fraud. No guarantee that they can get your money back, but there will be an investigation and an alert to others besides this thread. Also to the Eastham Police Dept.
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