| Bankers Bulletin: Consumer Alert on Vacation Property Rental Scam
The BBN hands-on approach to customer support enabled us to identify an increasing occurrence of a fraudulent scenario impacting our clients. Customers/Members are requesting their bank or credit union to send a wire transfer for a deposit to secure a vacation rental property. Our research indicates the originating website is legitimate, the property is legitimate and the email is accurate. However, unbeknown to the true property owner the email had been hacked and the wire instructions were re-directing the funds to an illegal account in another country.
Thru BBN’s continual assessment of all wire activities we identified a pattern of suspicious transactions originating from a number of different clients. We were able to question a number of wires and subsequently prevented fraud thereby saving the customer or member the amount of the deposit.
We encourage clients to be pro-active when handling customer/member requests for vacation property wire transfers by following the tips listed below as best practice suggestions for consumers:
- If the only way to contact the owner is via email and no phone number is provided or no one answers the number provided; the consumer should question the credibility of the source
- Prior to sending the funds check with the town appraiser (where the property is located) to verify ownership and contact information
- Emails with obvious English grammar errors should be further investigated
- Majority of rental property owners or their agents will request payment via bank check; wiring funds is the same as sending cash; requests to make rental property deposits by wire transfer should be verified by the consumer with an alternate source.
Banks and credit unions should review all foreign wire requests thoroughly to ensure the legitimacy of the transaction including the beneficiary’s full name and purpose of payment.
For additional information on the vacation rental property scam please contact the BBN Operations Department at (877) - 957-8277 or by email at email@example.com