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AARP rental property scams

The post-pandemic pent-up demand for travel has the summer travel industry booming. But rather than looking to hotels for overnight stays, travelers are increasingly looking at home rentals.

While these properties offer privacy and distance from crowds, they could pose threats to consumers’ wallets.

Crooks steal photos and descriptions of properties on real estate websites, then advertise rentals at rock-bottom prices.

After a deal is struck - typically by email - renters are asked for payment upfront – often by purchasing a gift card (Google Play is a common one) and sharing the numbers off the back. When they arrive, they discover that the rental doesn’t exist or that the actual owner isn’t renting it.

When renting your vacation getaway this summer, book on websites you know and trust and do your homework to verify the property really exists and is a rental. Watch out for anyone who asks you for payment by anything other than a credit card.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.