Monday, June 14, 2010
Bad trip: bogus vacation scams online
It seems smart: you're in the market for a vacation so you scour the internet looking for that great deal using well-known, trusted websites to find your perfect (and cheap) vacation rental destination.
You find the deal of all deals. It's beautiful, it's affordable, and it seems to be legitimate. So, is it?
Be worried and be careful advises Brigid Schulte of the Washington Post (June 13, 2010).
"Though there are plenty of legitimate offerings on Craigslist and Vacation Rental by Owner and HomeAway and a host of other sites, the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that sham vacation home offers are only the latest in a long list of online fraud operations it tracks," writes Schulte.
FBI special agent Charles Pavelites heads the complaint center. On how to avoid being scammed, he advises steering clear of "act fast" type offers and says never to wire money - once wired, it's gone.
The FBI has developed lookstoogoodtobetrue.com to arm you with information so you don't fall victim to Internet scam artists, many of whom are experts at positioning their offers as legitimate. Visit the site to learn how to better identify scams, take a risk assessment test, or even share your story of being scammed and file a complaint.