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Stay safe when booking holidays

Published on 16/11/2017 by Steve Cummings

At Owners Connect we aim to provide a listing service that people can trust.

We ask owners and property managers for evidence that they own or have the right to rent out any property that they list.

However, there are scammers out there and they can be difficult to find.

With that in mind here are some basic “Rules” for holidaymakers (owners comment with your own ideas below):

1. Be wary of anyone contacting you directly via Facebook messenger, email or text, claiming to have availability. Check their Facebook profile etc, are they active on Facebook? Are there photographs of them in Lanzarote? Are there pictures of them at their property? Where does the profile say they live? (If they’re in the USA are they likely to own property in the Canaries?)

Does it “feel” right?

2. Ask for their telephone number, speak to them directly. Ask them about the property, the local area. Bars and restaurants, nearest supermarket etc etc. If they won’t give you a number – why?

3. Ask for a website address or link to a listing website or similar where they advertise. Does the property have a Facebook page? If you get a link to a listing, are the pictures the same, is the name of the owner the same? Some scammer use text from one property and pics from another.

4. Payment. Most scammers want the full amount up front. Most genuine owners will want a deposit (€100 or 10% something like that) with the balance being due 6-8 weeks before arrival. If they want the full amount and it seems cheap – alarm bells!

Method of payment: Paying directly to an account via PayPal or similar would appear to be the scammers favourite method. Be especially careful if you are asked to use the “friends / family” option to send a payment, scammers use this as you have no protection from PayPal when you use that option.

Similarly paying direct to a bank account. If the owner claims to be British (for example) Google the sort code / IBAN of the account…is it a British bank? Be careful.

5. Proof of ownership. Ask for proof. An electricity bill with the address and the owners name, or a water bill, even the deeds to the property. As an owner I have no problem supplying these to a client who isn’t sure.

6. Property details: will you get this in advance? We send out full details as soon as we receive the balance payment. Be wary of people who claim you’ll be met at the airport, there aren’t many owners who do that.

7. The golden rule: If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.

There are many more genuine owners than scammers, but make sure you keep yourself safe when booking.

Cheers,

Steve Cummings

Owners Connect Ltd.

Category: Information

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