AG Tong DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull Warn Connecticut Residents to be Vigilant of Summer Rental Scams
(Hartford, CT) — Attorney General William Tong and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull are urging Connecticut residents to be wary of summer rental scams as they plan their vacations for the season.
Fraudulent rentals are one of the most common scams during summertime. Especially this year, as Connecticut and other top summer travel destinations see a higher demand for rental properties, it is important to be vigilant of deals that are scams.
“With so many of us getting vaccinated and able to travel this summer, scammers will be poised to take advantage of a hot summer rental market and a shortage of available rentals. Don’t fall victim to their predatory tactics,” Attorney General Tong said. “If you’re planning a vacation and want to rent a property, make sure you do your research. Seek out reviews of the rental company, read the fine print before you sign a contract and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
“We’re all excited to get out of town after a year spent mostly at home, but getting scammed out of a place to stay isn’t the best way to start a vacation,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Start your travel on the right note by doing your research and making sure your vacation rental is legitimate before you even leave the house. Look for verified rentals and other customer reviews before booking, and add an extra layer of protection by paying with a credit card.”
Scammers know that finding the perfect vacation rental for your family and friends isn’t an easy task and that good deals are hard to pass up. Some scammers will copy a real rental listing but change the contact info and lower the price. The scammers will place the advertisement on another site like Craigslist. A victim will see the ad, believe it is legitimate and fall for the scammers fraudulent listing. In many cases, victims don’t realize that they’ve been scammed until they arrive at the location and discover their rental doesn’t exist or was never for sale.
To avoid a summer rental scam, take these precautions:
- Visit the property before you book if possible and confirm it exists and is available for rent. If you can’t do that, look for reviews online.
- If there are no reviews, ask for references from former renters.
- Be on the look out for red flags such as the owner asking you to wire money or wanting you to pay a deposit before meeting you or signing an agreement. If the owner cannot meet in person because they are out of the country, that is another red flag.
- If you are communicating with a real estate agent, always ask for their license number and check it at eLicense Online (ct.gov).
- Always make payments with your credit card if possible so that the charge can be reversed if the situation arises.