Stay safe when booking your holiday property
Booking your holiday property
Scams involving holiday property rentals have received some publicity in the press and, although they are fortunately still quite rare, it’s important that you are aware of some of the risks of booking a holiday cottage and take some simple precautions to avoid getting tricked into paying money to fraudsters.
Some tips to avoid becoming a holiday property scam victim:
- Check with the property owner: Genuine holiday cottage owners should be pleased to receive enquiries about their property. Give the advertised telephone number a call or send an email – owners will typically be happy to help you and give you advice
- Be wary of writing errors: Many phishing emails and fraudulent property listings have poor spelling and grammar and use unusual words and phrases – this should be a sign that all is not well and needs further investigation. Likewise, if an owner seems overly keen that you sign up quickly for a holiday rental property, do a bit more research
- Ask for a property rental agreement: An agreement between the holidaymaker and accommodation owner should clearly lay out what has been agreed, e.g. arrival and departure dates and times, payment and cancellation conditions, house rules, etc. This will help to protect both parties in the case of a disagreement
- Keep safe online: Check that the website domain name and any email address is valid and has not been altered slightly, e.g. by changing .co.uk to .com or deleting a letter from the email address
- Research your holiday cottage and website: Most will have reviews on other sites and it’s likely that any fraudulent websites will attract negative comments online by people who have lost money, detailing the scam and their experiences
- Pay in a safe way: It’s common for individual property owners to ask for payment by bank transfer into their account but many holiday listing websites will offer a payment facility by credit card or debit card or via an online payment system such as PayPal or Worldpay
- Get holiday insurance: Many travel insurance policies will protect you from phishing and other common scams
- Trust your own instincts: Fraudsters will often advertise holidays at a sum which is significantly below the going rate, so as in other things in life, if the quoted price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
REMEMBER – while scams are relatively rare – a few simple precautions can ensure that you have a safe booking transaction and a very happy holiday!