Vacation Home Rental Warning

Renting personal properties for vacations has gained popularity in recent years with the creation of online marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO. While the home and condo rentals can give visitors access to experiences they may not get staying in a traditional hotel, it can also allow criminals access to credit card numbers, valuable belongings and sensitive information.

“Vacation rentals make the hosts and visitors vulnerable to theft,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Being aware of risks and taking precautions can protect you and your family from loss.”

With Spring Break weeks away for many Arkansans and a recent uptick in these types of scams, Attorney General Rutledge issued these safety reminders for both hosts and visitors.

Tips for visitors:

  • Only rent from reputable, well-known and insured sites.
  • Do not move communication and final rental agreements and payments off the trusted website, even if a lower price is promised.
  • Be aware if you are renting the whole property, or if the host will be on-site. 
  • Communicate with the host about your expectations.
  • Pay attention to other travelers’ reviews of the property.
  • Feel uneasy? Do not rent.

Tips for hosts:

  • Only list your property on reputable, well-known and insured sites.
  • Add watermarks to photos used for rental postings to make it more difficult for scammers to copy the photos and use them in fraudulent postings.
  • Only conduct business on the website, even if the renter wants to pay in cash or requests a lower rate.
  • Take, lock up or hide your personal belongings such as bank account information, personal identification information, valuables or sentimental belongings.
  • Clearly disclose on the listing any area of the rental property that is off limits.
  • Feel uneasy? Do not rent.

Do not be swayed by lower prices or waived fees if offered to conduct business off the reputable site. Communicating and booking outside the website causes safeguards such as insurance and company-wide scam prevention strategies to no longer be valid. If possible, verify the host or renters identity ahead of the stay. Other red flags include properties with few reviews and not enough photos on an advertised site.

If you believe a rental property scam has occurred, contact local law enforcement and the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or Facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325
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