How to stay safe when booking your holiday cottage
Summer ... a time of sun, sea ... and scammers! Unfortunately although still relatively rare, phishing - the practice of conning people out of sensitive information and especially money - is on the increase. Common scams include hacking into holiday owners emails and offering often 'too good to be true' deals to enquirers. The genuine owners know nothing of this - and the customers get scammed out of large amounts of money. While this is thankfully exceptional - it is always wise to take precautionary steps to minimise the risk of this happening to you.
Action Fraud say following these simple tips will help you stay safe when renting a holiday home online:
- Ensure that you speak on the phone with the person renting the cottage (not just by email). Most legitimate people letting a property will provide their direct phone number on the site — if they do not please contact us - we will pass on your details and ask the owner to ring you.
- NEVER pay directly into a bank account until you verify that the owner is legitimate. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash — the money can’t be traced and is not refundable.
- Where possible, pay by credit card or a debit card that offers insurance — they are traceable and refundable, according to the provider’s terms and conditions.
- DO ask questions about the local area and the property - genuine owners will be happy to provide information.
- DO keep an eye out for suspicious signs - terrible grammar, bad spelling, strange phrasing - these should all put you on the alert!
- Do double check the email address with the owners website. Again, if no website is advertised, DO contact us - we will always forward your email.
- ALWAYS get travel insurance that protects you from phishing scams.
- Ask for a rental agreement — a signed rental agreement between the owner and the guest helps protect both parties. Typically, each owner or manager has their own payment and cancellation policies and house rules.
REMEMBER - while scams are relatively rare - a few simple precautions can ensure that you have a safe booking transaction and a very happy holiday!