Alright, so over the holiday I try to look for a vacant apartment in New York to stay for New Year Eve. And I found that New York Craiglist Vacation Rentals is one of the most dangerous website out there. Probably with 80% are scam.
Here are some of my suggestion to avoid scams if you are looking for vacation rentals too:
- If it’s a “too good to be true” deal, you should be aware. There’s no way you can find a good apartment in New York, for example, with less than $100 in busy time
- If the person try to push you or hurry you to make the decisions, you should be aware
- If the person want you to send the deposit money through Money Order, that is definitely a scam
- If you cannot get an exact address, a phone number to get a hold of the person
One of the person that I dealt with even went a great length by providing a Driver License for a man named “Love Louis B” but common, who is in the right mind to take the time to scan me the driver license to prove that the person is genuine.
(I cover sensitive information because this may belong to a real person)
My advice is that you will have to find somebody that:
- Can at least provide a phone number or an exact address
- Can provide a PayPal or credit card payment option
- And can give you a “sense of trusting” (not pushing, pressure you, or make you feel comfortable to talk to on the phone)
Another thing, my contact even sent me a PayPal account. Here is the thing about PayPal, even though they provide a insurance policy for your transaction, you still want to take some time to verify that PayPal account. One way I do is to use the link below:
Using that link with the PayPal email at the end, you can verify whether a PayPal account is verified or not. Here is what it said when I check:
firstname.lastname@example.org is NOT PayPal Verified
What it Means to be Verified
To become Verified, a PayPal member in the United States must provide us with proof that he or she has opened an account at a bank or other financial institution. Because these institutions are required by law to screen account holders, PayPal’s verification process increases security when you pay parties you do not know. Please note that PayPal’s verification system does not constitute an endorsement of a member, nor a guarantee of a member’s business practices. You should always consider other indicators when evaluating members, including length of PayPal membership and reputation scores (on eBay or other auction sites, if applicable).
(One note though, you will have to log in to your PayPal before you do this)
Well, the truth is some PayPal verified account is scammers, and some PayPal unverified account is NOT scammers, so if you are very careful like me (which you should if you are about to send a stranger hundreds of dollars payment right?) then call PayPal customer services and explain the situation to them. They WON’T be able to tell you the information about the account, but you can ask them to review the account and see if they can give you a personal advice of whether to trust that PayPal account or not. In my case, the PayPal agent reviewed the account for me and told me I should not, and I think that just made up my mind
The bottom line is, if you want to do some shopping online with a total stranger by yourself, you ought to do everything you can to make sure you don’t get yourself into a scam. Even with an insurance policy of PayPal, you still don’t want to get into the pain of disputing the scam after it happens right? Prevention is the best defense.
Happy Holidays and be safe!!!