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#501741 - 03/03/15 03:18 PM Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway
Phil Offline
Very sophisticated looking scam. Had three attempts since yesterday so beware.

Incoming email enquiries are an exact replica of the vrbo or homeaway email template you receive -with pictures and links etc. Except when you click a link to access your dashboard it asks you to verify your account details DO NOT DO THIS.

If you do they then have control of your vrbo/HomeAway page. They intercept your guests enquiries act as if they are you and take reservations and money as if you and then you will have a guest turn up thinking they have a paid for reservation and it's the first you know about it. I have already had one group stay with me last minute who have had this happen elsewhere on the Caye luckily they found out a week before so looked around and found us - BUT this means it is working here already with some owners.

One added thing that confirms it's a scam when you receive it. It doesnt know your Property or Listing number so this will be an incorrect number in the email header/title so check that and if incorrect delete it or send it to security help at vrbo.

#501742 - 03/03/15 03:44 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Phil Offline
For guests/visitors too as it affects you far worse, as you pay for a Reservation that doesn't exist. If suspicious in any way of your transaction/contact get in touch from another source than just hitting reply on your emails. Source the email address yourself direct from their website or the Official Belize Tourist Board website contacts or make a call, rather than relying on the link you received.

#501752 - 03/03/15 08:15 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Diane Campbell Offline
Readers please share this info with others who it may affect.

#501755 - 03/03/15 08:23 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Diane Campbell Offline
Bump again

#501777 - 03/04/15 04:54 AM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Shyboy Offline
Newbie here.... I have been a member for only a few days... I WILL be using VRBO.... Thanks for the tip.

A little known fact... Women who are overweight tend to live longer than men who mention it...

#501795 - 03/04/15 03:23 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Phil Offline
Got another this morning..............

#501798 - 03/04/15 04:00 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Bear Offline
Seen one or two of these myself...Phil can you do a screen shot of one and post it?

Another test of suspicious email links is to put your cursor over the link and look at the address in the your lower right browser tray, you'll see it is not going to a VRBO address...that may not be the easiest thing to understand but its how I check suspicious emails (theres another way as well but the chance of triggering the link is much higher so i won't discuss that one) ...I consider myself pretty savvy to Phishing schemes but its gotten to the point where these are so well counterfeited I've even been fooled, but fortunately only to a point...

A more recent scam for VRBO is for a telecamera to collect your phone number from the listing then call you claiming to be a "travel agent" representing a group wishing to rent your place. Do not give out your VRBO email address as that opens the door to phasing schemes. Instead tell the "agent" that the group can make an online inquiry as per normal VRBO procedures..that frustrates the hell out of them and I was actually beginning to have fun with the jerk when he finally hung up on me...oh by the way since I took the call on my VRBO cell I was able to see that the "Travel Agent" from "London", Indian/Middle Eastern accent, was actually using a Skype account based out of Los Angles...

#501807 - 03/04/15 05:54 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Phil Offline
Trouble with these is as the legit messages comes from vrbo software via their servers the return email address is huge with a massive string of numbers and letters at the start and at the end often off screen is the vrbo bit. The scam use vrb.com instead of vrbo.com. Easily missed.

It looks EXACTLY the same as the legit vrbo contacts you receive with all the footers Apple and Google App Buttons, facebook links legal terms and conditions buttons etc.

#501821 - 03/04/15 08:21 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
Bear Offline
True! but often times the clickable links to the bogus phishing home site is considerably shorter than the links that VRBO uses to relay your messages to the client..I'll see if if I can find an example of a bogus one (neutralized) that I sent on to VRBO's security team.

Edited by Bear (03/04/15 08:23 PM)

#501827 - 03/04/15 09:24 PM Re: Warning Property Ownwers Using vrbo and HomeAway [Re: Phil]
CaptOneIron Offline
I hate to admit this but one of these folks got me and I don't even remember when. They did use it to intercept a guest inquiry and eventually got them to send several thousand to them via wire. We only found out when a couple of months later they sent us an email asking a question about their stay. It cost me several thousand dollars as I honored the booking even though we never received a single dollar from the guest. If I could strangle these folks I would do that.
However I think VRBO and Homeaway contribute to this by insisting that all communications go through them. We all know at some point they are going to demand a commission in addition to the outrageous fees and all this is just an exercise to keep the owners away from the guests. They tell you their system is meant to prevent scams instead it facilitates it. I also wouldn't doubt that there are people working for the scammers inside VRBO.
We have now added ridiculous levels of security but I am not sure it is 100% safe. We reported this to the FBI and I suggest you do as well. I don't think it will help you but it might help someone in the future.

Edited by CaptOneIron (03/04/15 09:26 PM)
Captain One Iron

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