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Follow up "Is inquiry a scam, or phishing"

I posted a question two weeks ago curious as to whether a VRBO inquiry asking if dates were available was scam. I thank all of you who responded. The follow up is unequivocally “Yes, it is a scam” Here’s how it works:

Scammer: 1st inquiry, "Is your place available Dec 1 - Dec 15?

Host: Yes, please send additional information re. your group, nature of visit, traveler’s origination point, govt. ID etc.

Scammer; 2nd inquiry 2 weeks later, Thanks for your reply. My wife and I are liking your home. My company will paying for vacation and will sending cashiers check. A PDF is attached with my email address. Send details for where to send money to that address.

I got quite a few of these scams 2,3 years ago. Always on VRBO. Seems like they’re resurfacing. Anybody else been getting them?

These scams are not to be confused with returning guests who I encourage to inquire about availability.

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Got almost the same thing on VRBO with the long delays a couple months ago.
Between that and getting zero information/communication from potential guests, I bagged listing there.

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Love this forum - I knew I’m not the only one to receive these scam inquiries, but why only on VRBO never Airbnb ?

Oh they happen on Airbnb too. :slight_smile:

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Read lots of posts from hosts who have gotten them on Airbnb. Sometimes 6 scam requests a day.

I get these from VRBO about once a month, I just respond no you will need to book online with a credit card and that has always ended it.

RR

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My tour business was the highest ranked independent excursion in our community, so high on Google search, and I got a lot of emails via the web site from folks wanting to send me a cashier’s check with extra $$ to send to their “translator” in the US (these were all supposedly Chinese business people, always fishy because they wanted my limo 12 hrs/day for a week).

Of course, the check will bounce, and you’ll be out the “translator fee”.

It happens to folks in the travel industry all the time.

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My first scammer was on FurnishedFinder. Wanted a free vacation for her and her daughter. I reported her and received a “Oh, we don’t do anything about that… it’s on you” response from FF. I didn’t renew after that.

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VRBO makes it easy to contact hosts outside of the platform. Airbnb not so easy.

Just got this. As soon as I saw the msg/text preview start with “Is your property available” I knew it was garbage (I know others will say it could be legit but it’s not). I’m tired and didn’t even play the game. Responded “No. Thanks for your inquiry”.

Hit the road “new traveler”, “unverified”, “no reviews”, James! I really wanted to reply,”Not to you!” :joy:

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What did you have in mind, for what they could do? It’s a site for landlords.

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I went in as a landlord and early adopter. Not only did I give them serious QA feedback as a software developer and UX person, EVERY request I got was “Can I pay you in 2 weeks and I’ll be on vacation with my daughter/fiance/other…” or “I don’t get my per diem or payouts for a month but I want to book now.” or “My fiance will by lying around watching TV and looking after my 2 Chihuauas.” Guests don’t read.

I would expect that they would follow up on this (they were small, new, and said they were trying to stop scammers) and block the reported profiles.

I also sent them a complete list of the EIGHT local hospitals within a 15 mile radius WITH the Google lat/long as the other, non-scam requests I got were for hospitals an hour away. They didn’t add them to the database for TWO years.

They’re more professional-looking now, but their forums on FB and other platforms can be scathing in their reviews of the platform.

You have a really different perspective about Furnished Finders! We’ve been using it for about 4 years and I wouldn’t expect any of the stuff you are talking about. It’s not like Airbnb, they don’t get involved, it’s just a listing site for landlords, like Craigslist, Zillow or apartments.com. There are no service fees so I’m not sure why they would provide more than just a listing site. We do pay an annual listing fee but it’s cheaper than Zillow, not enough for them to deal with tenants for anyone.

There are no guests on FF and it doesn’t matter if tenants read, it’s all written down and they can be held to it, unlike guests.

Only about half of the prospective tenants have anything to do with a hospital, it’s anyone looking for a furnished apartment. I think we’ve only had one actual healthcare provider. Maybe two, but the second one was just local and having a house remodeled.

It sounds like you are going back further than 4 years, maybe they had a different business model then? If so, then I’m glad they adjusted. I like them because it’s a great advertising platform for furnished apartments, maybe the best, without any BS. I pay them to show my listing and they do that and then it’s free for tenants. We stay full with them so we no longer bother listing anywhere else for LTR.

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This just dropped into my VRBO inbox….

“Our records indicate you may have been contacted by a traveler named James Jackson about a potential booking with your Vrbo listing. We have identified a security concern with this traveler’s account. Out of precaution, we have reset your Vrbo password and you will be required to set up a new password at your next login.”

Hmmm, you don’t say?! :thinking:

BUT even more interesting, I think this is a bogus email. It looks legit in every way BUT I wasn’t asked to change my password upon next login and when I did change it (went directly to the website) the confirmation email also looked legit but definitely different from the “warning” email. Man, these folks are downright devious. Y’all watch out.


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I hope that you forwarded the phishing email to vrbo security?

You should also forward it to an email address on a computer, so you can look at the header to see who actually sent it, and also see where those links go.

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@NordlingHouse Yes, I did forward it. I’m hoping to hear back but nothing so far.

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