Fraud Warning for Miami Vacation Rentals!

Like most industries, vacation rentals are not exempt from scammers. They will use stolen credit cards to list properties that may not even exist. This practice occurs with more frequency in cities like New York, Miami, etc. Below are some tips and suggestions on how to avoid becoming the victim of a scammer. For all of these suggestions, if the property owner offers up any hesitation or tries to communicate via email only, or just gives you a bad vibe, step away from the transaction. There are thousands and thousands of vacation rentals,  move on to a respected vacation rental owner that fully answers all of your questions and is more than willing to offer up proof that they are the legitimate owners of the property and have the legal right renting for Short Term (City Ordinance and Transient Tax registration).

Does the property owner have a website? Most scammers won't take the time to create a website. Additionally creating a website leaves a trail that law enforcement can track to prosecute the scammer. Just because a property owner does not have a website does not make them a scammer, but it should raise a flag to proceed with caution. If the price is too low, be suspicious! (False listing

When possible, pay with a credit card, wire transfer or check. Paypal or your credit card company will provide you protection in the event of fraud. Don't send check if you cannot verify the name and address of the Owner! Never pay with Western Union if you don't know the Owner.

Most smaller vacation rental owners do not accept credit cards as a form of payment. In that case most will accept a personal check. However, most scammers will only take cashiers checks. This should be a red flag. If a property owner requires a cashier check, take additional steps to assure the owner and rental are legitimate. The cashier check protects also the Owner if the payment is done only at the check in and not before.

Another safe and easy way to verify if your Miami Vacation Rentals is not a scam, is to "Google" the Owner and his own address.

Example with our Corporation T&T Florida Investments Corp. 

Here in our Official Florida Registration Link
You can also verify the ownership of the Miami Vacation houses you want to rent on 

Below are comments from people who were taken advantage of by fraudulent vacation rentals on the internet

Never rent without ownership verification for a safe rental! 
Never rent without verification of the city approval for short term rental! 

South Beach prohibits short-term rental of any kind. Miami Beach is considering Short-term rental  anything less than 6 months. If the owner of the property is not licenced to do this by the city and State of Florida and you agree to rent a property you run the risk of being evicted by the city's police department with no recourse. By renting from a licensed company you reduce your risk of any fraud as well. 

January 2009, the City of Miami Beach & South Beach confirmed that Short Term Rental is prohibited in Miami Beach or South Beach less than 6 month and 1 day. Don't take the risk, you can be evict by the Police ! Short Term Rental is prohibited too in North Miami Beach, nearest legal town for short term rental from South Beach because we was grandfathered in. (Miami Herald news posted on Friday 11/20/09, *news below). If you do not want your holidays ending-up a nightmare, refuse any offers of short term rentals in the city of Miami Beach. Also refuse contracts for 6 months that are fraudulent to avoid Miami-Dade taxes or done to make you believe that this is legal when you know that you asked to only rent for "2 weeks". It is a criminal offense. Be aware that unscrupulous Real Estates Agents continue to rent Short Term or Vacation Rental in Miami Beach for less than 6 months and 1 day even if it's prohibited by law, hoping you will be not evicted! 

*MIAMI HERALD NEWS posted Friday 11.20.09
Also supporting the ordinance is Guy Tenenbaum, a native of France who moved to North Miami Beach in 2000 and owns a vacation rental business, which will be grandfathered in.

"We're happy because if the law did not pass, we'd continue the same way we did for years. We live in the neighborhood, and we don't want Eastern Shores to become a big party house," he said.