Are you planning a visit to our beautiful city during the Olympics? Be aware that due to the high demand for short term rentals, there are a large number of scammers out there on various websites.
See article below
Olympics schemers already at start line
Appeared in print: Sunday, Jan 10, 2010
The 2010 Olympics are approaching, but the scams already have arrived, according to the Oregon Better Business Bureau.
These include phony ads for British Columbia rental properties that are popping up on craigslist and other online classifieds, the BBB says.
Victims of these type of rental scams typically say they were told by the supposed landlord that they needed to wire a large deposit in order to receive the keys to the rental home.
When the victims ask if they can check out the property first, the landlords claim that they are out of the country. Often, the scammer lifts photos of actual houses that are for sale that have been posted online — a scam that also showed up in Eugene last year, real estate agents reported.
The BBB advises people who are looking for rentals for the Olympics to watch out for these red flags:
The landlord claims to be located outside the area where the rental is and will only communicate via e-mail. Scammers frequently say they’re out of the country for a job or on missionary work.
The landlord asks the potential renter to wire money through wire transfer services, such as Western Union or MoneyGram. “Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve,” the BBB says, “and once the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse — if any — for getting your money back.”
The landlord requires a big deposit before giving you the keys — or even showing the home. “Don’t pay any money before inspecting inside the property,” the BBB says. If you absolutely can’t inspect the property in advance, the BBB says, get a contract with all the terms, details and conditions spelled out. Make sure the rental is furnished, ask for proof that the person actually owns it, and ask if you can pay when you arrive, after signing a contract, instead of in advance.
Homeowners who are renting out their home, condominium or apartment for the games are required to have a business license through the city of Vancouver — ask for a copy. A license is not, however, required to rent a single room.
Finally, the Olympics has an official Web site, www.2010destinationplanner.com , with a list of hotels, bed and breakfasts, private home rentals and rooms on cruise ships.
TAC Real Estate Corp.