Easy Steps To Prevent Accommodation Fraud
On Your Vacation
By Maguire Haigh
While you're probably eager to start your vacation as soon as possible, there are some precautions that you must take in order to have the best experience possible. One of those precautions is in regards to the accommodation that you're looking for. With thousands of frauds out there, it's important to know exactly what to look out for. The following six guidelines will help you achieve exactly that.
Six Tricks To Avoid Headaches On Your Vacation
1. Use Reputable Websites
Since you've already spent a significant sum of money on booking the vacation, there's no point in trying to save a few dollars on accommodation by using shady websites. If you decide to do this, you're putting the whole plan at risk, which will be hundreds of times more expensive than what you would've saved otherwise.
This is why it's important to use only well-known platforms such as Booking.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor, etc. On them, each seller has to go through a rigorous registration process that's then reviewed by a team of people who verify its legitimacy to ensure that you don't fall victim to a scam.
2. Be Careful with Advance Payments
Most (if not all) of the renters will always demand a certain percentage that you have to pay them as soon as you book an apartment/room. This is done to ensure that you won't cancel in the last second when they wouldn't be able to find another client.
While prepayments shouldn't be considered as red flags, it's always best to check how much they're asking for. If they demand the whole sum immediately, steer clear - even if it's not a scam, you're essentially giving up all your money before you've even seen how everything looks.
3. Check the Reviews
There's no better way to get an idea of the owner's legitimacy than through people's past experiences. This is why your first instinct should be to go to the reviews section as soon as you find new potential accommodation. Is everything exactly as the owner described it? What were the biggest problems for people who stayed there before? Check both good (5 stars) and bad (1 star) reviews. The more feedback you're able to find, the better. If there's a recurring issue that people seem to report, don't be afraid to contact the owner and ask what it's all about. In case he denies those claims, you can always ask for a picture as proof.
4. Research the Address
Nowadays, when we have maps right under our thumbs, it's quite easy to see how a certain street or an area looks. Pictures on the booking websites can be deceiving, so you're best off looking at an unbiased, pure image of the actual accommodation.
Enter the address, go to the Street View option, and do a thorough check-up of the area. Is there even a building in the place where the owner is claiming it to be? Sometimes this might not even be a scam - the owner simply could've forgotten to remove the advert in case something else was built in its place. Compare everything, and if something seems off, run as far away from it as possible.
5. Scan the Owner's Phone Number
It's always best to know who you're dealing with before booking anything. While everything might seem normal over the phone, it's still not a guarantee that the renter is legitimate. This is why it's best to do some double-checking, which is very easy to achieve with Spokeo.
Simply put, Spokeo is a phone number search and email lookup tool that uses one of the two parameters in order to find any details connected to their owner. By running a search, the tool tries to find any matches in its database that contains millions of entries. When it does, you'll have all of the person's details right on the palm of your hand. This includes their full name, address, criminal records, social media profiles and lots of other information. Look for any deterrents and immediately continue looking if everything doesn't add up as it should.
6. Run a Reverse Image Search
Following up on the fourth tip, Google's reverse image search is a very easy yet effective way to see if the accommodation's photos were simply taken from the Internet. In cases where this is done, the incredibly looking building is usually complemented by an equally incredible price. As soon as you notice this, it's time to start doubting the legitimacy of the whole thing. Download the picture from the website, upload it to a reverse image search service and see if any results are found. Since it should obviously be a unique establishment, even if a single match is found it usually means that it's a fraud.
About the author:
Maguire Haigh is a marketing manager for Spokeo. He is interested in the latest technology trends, marketing strategies and business development. He also prefers traveling, exploring the world and meeting new people. Maguire has great experience in creating and editing articles on different topics.