As summer kicks into high gear and inventory with local rental companies is becoming booked, it may be tempting to look elsewhere for your Holden Beach vacation rental. Picture this: you find the nearly perfect vacation rental that is available the week you want to vacation. You exchange a few emails with the owner and agree to the terms of the rental. You give them your credit card information or pay an invoice online and get set to start packing for you trip. But then you don’t hear from the owner with any information on how to get into the home and don’t have a way to contact them other than email – which, of course, they aren’t responding to. Or worse yet, you get to Holden Beach all set for a week of fun, and find out that the house is already rented or doesn’t exist at all!

Unfortunately, vacation rental scams are on the rise. But there are a few ways you can protect yourself, your hard earned money, and your vacation.

Verify The Host

Make sure you are dealing with a real company or a person with an actual house for rent. The best way to do this is to rent from a reputable, long standing rental company that is local to the area you are vacationing in. (Like PROACTIVE Vacations!)

If you are looking at third party booking sites such as VRBO, check the reviews. Be cautious of any listing that doesn’t have any reviews or properties with reviews that all say the same things or repeat the same phrases.

Double Check the Property Specifics

Be cautious of properties that seem too good to be true. While we all look for a bargain, you’ll rarely (if ever!) find an oceanfront 6 bedroom home for $500 a week for the week of July 4th. If it seems too good to be true, you will definitely want to research before handing over payment.

Double check the photos as well. Take a close look at the photos and make sure they fit with the area you’re vacationing in. Heading to Holden Beach? The photo of the house on the cliff overlooking the ocean is most definitely a scam. Also, check to make sure the photos are consistent. A massive, luxurious kitchen photo with a listing for a 2 bedroom 1 bath condo can be enough to raise a red flag.

Be Cautious With Payments

While you may call a rental company and give them your credit card details by phone for a rental, be wary of doing this with individuals. If possible, pay only through verified websites and use a major credit card that offers protection against scams.

Never pay for a vacation rental through a wire service such as Western Union, Venmo, CashApp or others. These services are not traceable and offer no recourse if something goes wrong.

Know Your Rights

Finally, know your rights for vacation rentals. By North Carolina law, if you are charged a security deposit, it must be returned or an itemized statement of withholding must be provided within 45 days of the end of your tenancy. In addition, it is illegal for a host to refuse to rent based on your race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, disability or marital status.

With a little bit of due diligence, you can rest assured that your Holden Beach vacation rental will be great and your vacation is a stress-free, relaxing time. Reach out to PROACTIVE Vacations to start planning your next vacation today!

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