How to determine a scam

New to VRBO. Received our 2nd inquiry, 1st one was a scam. The inquiry stated the following - " Hello, my colleagues and I will be coming for vacation. Are those dates available?" It’s for 6 nights in March and his profile shows he just joined in 2023. After the 1st inquiry being a scam, we’re hesitant on approving his booking. Everything seems legitimate but we’re being very cautious. What do you guys think? Should I reply telling him the dates are available or any other things to say to figure out if its a scam or not?

Did they ask for your phone number to communicate? Did they ask for your bank account to deposit a check? Are they being clear about the dates they want to book and how many guests there are?

There seem to be some standard scams on VRBO, so be cautious.

I joined VRBO briefly a couple years ago, my first inquiry was a scam. I couldn’t deal with this and took my listing off VRBO.

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You have to keep your eyes open – it’s all you can do. And don’t be too quick to assume that because a Guest communicates in a way you don’t appreciate, or they don’t understand how the platform works, that they are a scammer.

My first thought is “This guy can’t read the calendar?” I assume the VRBO app shows which days are open and which aren’t; we are an AirBnb site so not many of us are VRBO saavy.

Everyone has to join a site sometime. Just because they joined in the last 30 days, or don’t understand how the calendar works, doesn’t make their enquiry a scam. Some of my best guests over the years have been first-timers!

I would tell the inquirer something like “If you can see on the calendar that the dates are open, then of course they are open.”


So far this inquiry looks legitimate.

We respond this way to such inquiries:

Thank you for your interest in my home on these dates for two adult guests. Yes, these dates are open.

Some of the salient house rules include: the home is suitable only for adults and children age 12 and over. No animals. Maximum occupancy, whether overnight or not, is six and limited to registered guests. Property not for smokers; no parties or events. No third party bookings, meaning that the person making the booking (who must be age 25 and over) must be staying overnight throughout the stay.

All payments must be made on the platform (e.g., no checks) and no visitation prior to booking. A reservation is not booked or held until payment is made assuming the dates ares still open then. All communications must be on the platform.

If you share a little about the purpose of your trip we might be better prepared to advise you of resources, attractions or events in the area. It’s up to you.

I look forward to hearing from you and thank you again for your interest in what you’ll find is your home away from home.


I am not sure how @HostAirbnbVRBO can determine the enquiry the guest sent looks legitimate based on what you have shared @rjruiz

I don’t know how VRBO works @rjruiz but I would put in place the vetting procedures/questions you normally use to determine whether this guest is a good fit for your place.

To me a red flag would be the guest asking whether dates are available if they can clearly see in your calendar that they are.

So ask your vetting questions and make a decision based on their response.


@Helsi For whatever reason we get numerous inquiries like this on VRBO. We just had one this morning. We have instant booking turned on and yet we still get inquiries like this.

I said ‘so far’ this looks legitimate (and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt). That’s because they have not (yet) related how work is paying for this trip and that they will receive a check just a few days from the check-in date. That’s typically the game they play.

I found that when I send this letter, which I have saved as a template in VRBO, that it covers all the bases, that a scammer knows we’re on to them and we don’t hear from them again if they’re a scammer. Others request to book or ask other questions. In my experience.