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BBB: Online vacation rental scams on the rise

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 19:44:54-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) -- — A warning for vacationers, verify your online rental.

A new study by the Better Business Bureau says 5 million people have lost money from online rental home and vacation property scams.

The BBB says the scammers are well funded and can infiltrate sites like Air BnB, VRBO, and Home Away to post real photos of phony rental listings. They estimate 43% of online renters have clicked a phony add and most of the victims are 19-35 years old. About 1/3 of all victims lose more than $1,000.

Pamela Atz is no stranger to online vacation rentals, so using Home Away for a trip to Las Vegas for her family in 2017 didn't seem like anything to worry about. She later had trouble contacting the rental property manager, and the when they got to Vegas, she was out $480 with no place to stay.

“It was just so distressing to sit there and realize we'd been scammed. You just feel like you got to scramble to find a place to put your head, so it wasn't fun at all it was very stressful," Atz explained.

Atz was able to get her money back.

The BBB says take extra steps; call the company directly, verify the rental is actually there's, search the images to make sure they're not being used on other sites.

Air BnB announced in November that they will verify all 7 million properties listed on their website to make sure they are real and improve trust with customers.