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Probable attempted VRBO scam this morning Nov 8, 2019

Got this fun inquiry this morning.

My reply? No reply at all :slight_smile:

I don’t use VRBO. How do you know it’s a scam? Since she’s new, what if she has no idea how it works?

Couldn’t you say something like this:

After I receive a confirmed reservation and payment verification from VRBO, the room/apartment/condo will be reserved for you. Payment must be made at the time of reservation through the VRBO site.

Again, I would say it is probable, not guaranteed. I spent 25 years in IT.

Basically, if this were only “1-2” things, it may be innocent. The combined signals makes it far more likely to be a scam:

  1. “traveling with my colleague”
  • not partner or spouse or family? It is during the Holidays.
  • Dec 23 - 31st? Not to Jan 1st or Jan 2nd?
  • Company paid? :wink: .
  1. “I can only make payment with a company or certified check”.
  2. The account Is “totally new”
  3. They know exactly how to get around vrbo and send a phone #.
  4. Wants to do payment outside vrbo.
  5. The name does not show up on the Internet.
  6. The phone number traces to the “middle of nowhere” in upstate NY - very far indeed from any company or industry.
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You could at least have a little fun with them?

Message back and say “I texted the number, did you receive the message?” - without having actually texted anything and go from there. Maybe…

“Are you sure you have sent the right number?”
“I sent this total due: $3254. Did you receive it?”

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LOL You are delightfully evil.

I agree that such notions are fun but do not wish for anything to be a permanent communication on VRBO.

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I once saw a slew of these on VRBO and my direct site, once in a blue moon on ABB.

I just respond that payment and communication are all done through the platform.
I never hear back from them.

BUT how fun would it be to respond:

“Sure! I’ll take your check but this is how these things are done …
You send a check for MORE than the amount, then I send back the extra, then the check is dishonored. The steps are very important.
Also, you’ll want to be sure to take ALL the money out of my account, so make sure you take at least $1million out. That should be the approximate balance.
I look forward to doing business with you!”

And post a picture of Dr. Evil :joy:

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This is a known scam. I’ve seen it reported for at least a year.

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I would say guaranteed.

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It’s harmless and good practice to simply treat every inquiry in a professional manner. On Airbnb we can have saved messages. I don’t get these kinds of requests but if I did I’d just cut and paste “Thanks for your inquiry. All bookings are done on the platform for our mutual protection. blah de blah.” It just takes a second and if by some chance you have real person who just was unlucky enough to sound like a scam then you have a chance at the booking.

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With respect, I disagree. With a likely scammer, there is no upside. Engaging at all might put me more on their radar.

If a “legit inquiry” were this over-the-top blatant, then I am not remotely interested in hosting them.

I did a scam search and found this reply to this scam by someone on another forum:

I read your post to my dog and she growled and the hair on her neck stood up. If my dog doesn’t trust something, I don’t trust something.

Fluffy thinks it’s a scam. So do I.

5 Likes

This is the great thing about Airbnb. There’s no one right way to do it. I think my 500+ five star reviews say that I know a thing or two. But I toss it out there and let people do as they please with it.

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About 20% of my bookings are through VRBO. I get these inquiries about every 2-3 weeks and it always begins with “Are these dates available?” After the first few, I drafted a canned response as set forth below -

My calendar is up to date. If you wish to book, please send a request. I only accept credit card payment through the site. No other forms of payment are accepted.

This covers me if it’s actually a legit inquiry - btw, it never has been.

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I had a recent request via Airbnb that had a date and the statement that they wanted to book the room but in Spanish. I have IB and always wonder about these kinds of requests when they can just book. I replied in English and they asked if they can pay tomorrow in English. I reply again telling them to book online. Bottom line is that I got an excellent booking despite what red flags may have been there. After a while it’s easy to tell which requests are probably scams.

It is a guaranteed scam / spam.
Put is a “period”, hit reply and move on.
Archive it as there is no good way to report it in without logjamming your response time.

What is the required response time on VRBO?

It is generally:
“as fast as possible and immediately is best”
but -
absolute max 24 hours until repurcussions on the listing visiblity
additionally =
currently the metric is suspended until some technical features are fixed, due to owner complaints on the accuracy.

2 Likes
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