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Spotting a Beach House Scam on Long Beach Island
Do you own a beach house that you rent out to vacationers while you're not using it? If so, you could become the victim of a scam, if you're not careful. Beach house scammers have been known to do everything from steal beach house furniture to rent out homes they don't own to unsuspecting victims. As a property owner, maintaining awareness of potential scams and watching for suspicious activity can protect you, protect your property and may even protect victims that you've never met. Below, we've listed some of the most common signs of beach house scams.
Poor Grammar, Poor Communication
Scammers are known to use email as their primary means of communication. Often, they use poor grammar and strange sentence structure when communicating with their victims. If you receive an email from someone who misspells words and uses language incorrectly, be wary. While poor grammar is not always the sign of a scam (some people just aren't great writers), this could be an indication that the person writing the email is up to no good.
It Sounds Too Good to Be True
You've heard it before: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Watch out for anyone who sounds like the perfect tenant, whether they're describing how they always clean up after themselves before leaving a rental, or they're offering to pay above asking price. Anyone who goes out of their way to make themselves sound like a preferred renter might be trying too hard for a reason.
They're Wrong About the Details
Did you receive an email about your beach house, but they called it an urban penthouse? It could be a phishing email: a communication sent it to many recipients trying to get a response from anyone who will bite. Ignore these emails; no good can come from them.
Use of Unconventional Payment Methods
Scammers avoid conventional payment methods. Use a standard service like Airbnb to do business, and avoid potential renters who want to pay rent outside the service platform. Anyone who wants to wire money may not be a legitimate renter. And of course, if you're wiring money to them, don't ever do it unless you're 100% confident the transaction is legitimate.
Weird Email Address
Scammers use strange email addresses to conduct business. Be careful when doing dealings with anyone who uses an email address from a service that is either unrecognizable or looks like a random stream of characters.
Scammers often have a made-up story that provides cover for their dealings, and they will often tell their story to everyone they reach out to. Often, the back story makes the scammer sound benign and friendly, like either the perfect renter or the perfect tenant. Watch out for anyone who wants to fill you in on their story without being asked. Often, their stories are detailed and sound believable; it's a red flag all the same.
Some scammers book rooms at the last minute because it gives the property owner less time to vet the potential renter. While some last-minute bookings are legitimate, never approve a booking unless you've been able to check the renter just as you would check anyone else.
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