COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Can you imagine starting your vacation only to realize the place you rented out - is actually not for rent? It's commonly referred as the vacation rental property scam.
Here's how it works:
Scammers post a picture of a luxury home on vacation rental sites, eg. Craigslist, offering the property up for rent. The posts look legitimate - so interested parties fork over their personal information, credit card number etc. and show up to the home only to be greeted by the real homeowners.
Bottom line - don't trust Craigslist rental ads.
Brian Fleischmann explains this scam is happening more often
"We're getting an influx of people wanting to get vacation rentals as well as people willing to lease their home out short term," said Fleischmann.
But these visitors are falling prey to a rental trap.
"We're getting in a lot of tourists from all over the world," he said. "It's making it easy for scammers to prey on vacationers from out of the area with these posts."
We talked to Det. Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office who explains if it seems too good to be true - that's usually the case.
"These peoplpe work 24 hours a day to rip you off," he said. "Don't think it can't happen to you."
Note: A tip to keep in mind - if you see an ad on Craigslist or a similar site that raises any red flag, you can check where the image is from using a site called "TinEye.com" You just import the photo and if you get a lot of results - that's a good indicator the picture is fake and not from the real owner.
If you're looking to rent a home for vacation this summer - be sure to use legitimate sites like Homeaway.com.