Don’t be Scammed!
You’re planning your dream holiday and want the perfect Jerusalem vacation rental. Web searches lead to a number of amazing apartments and exclusive villas. Yet are they all as they appear? Are they even real? The last thing you need is the nightmare of discovering that your Jerusalem vacation rental is a fraud.
Here are some guidelines on how to avoid scams when booking a Jerusalem vacation rental:
You’ve booked Jerusalem vacation rentals from online ads successfully for years and may be thinking, what’s the big deal? You should be aware that new scams are hitting the market all the time! For example, there are plenty of ads on craigslist and other boards, which display professional descriptions and photos, and also list official-sounding contact info for the realtor or company. An initial internet search about this vacation rental or company may check out, but don’t be fooled. The new scam is to copy legitimate ads, yet insert fake contact info that’s very similar to the real one. So while it’s true that this great vacation rental is really out there – the agent you’re corresponding with is a fake.
What’s the ultimate way to confirm that both the Jerusalem rental and the agent are genuine? Take a look at it! If you have a friend in Jerusalem who is willing to pay a visit to the apartment, then request an appointment on site. Don’t know anyone in Jerusalem? Request the appointment anyway, and see how the owner or manager responds. Then ask to see proof of ownership, or documentation proving that the manager has the legal right to sign a vacation lease. (Note that the rental contract should disclose full contact info.) These are the best ways to confirm that the person you’re dealing with holds the keys to open the door of your desired Jerusalem vacation rental.
Another way to confirm that an online listing is entirely valid is to cut and paste the full text of the Jerusalem vacation rental description, and run it through a search engine. If your search yields results posted on other sites, cross check the contact info of all these ads. Make sure they’re identical. Scrutinize the email addresses in particular – sometimes the scammer has done nothing more than to change the spelling of the realtor by one letter, or add a word, such as “office” to the legitimate email.
On the topic of emails, don’t rely upon them. Call the manager from our Jerusalem property management team or the owner directly on the phone. If you always have to leave a message and wait for a call back, be suspicious. Once the owner or agent is on the line, ask all of your questions, and listen carefully to the answers. If you get a funny feeling from your conversation, heed the warning. It’s probably your gut telling you not to trust this Jerusalem vacation rental.
Find out what other vacationers have to say about their experiences! Comments and crucial information about any legitimate Jerusalem vacation rental are only a website away. Turn to dependable sites such as tripadvisor and VRBO for reliable reviews, and don’t forget to Google the company name for more results. Customer reviews that are linked to Facebook accounts are more trustworthy.
Take your internet search a step further, and check out the property and area on Google Maps. Often you can access both aerial and street-level views.
Protect yourself and your hard-earned money – never pay with Western Union, prepaid debit cards, or other money transfers. Only use credit cards or PayPal, which allow you to challenge sham charges.
Remember, the time to be laid-back is after you arrive, put down your bags and settle in for your well-deserved break. Now is the time to engage in thorough, conscientious research in order to verify that your Jerusalem vacation rental is as exceptional as the ad says.