How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

More people around the country are losing money to fake rental listings, FBI says.
3:20 | 11/14/14

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Transcript for How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams
. Back now at 7:41 with "Gma" investigators. This time it's vacation rentals online. Paying hundreds or thousands of dollars, arriving at your destination to discover that the house or apartment doesn't exist. ABC's Paula Faris has our story. Reporter: For Keira and Chris Walsh, a destination wedding in Italy was a dream come true. I love Italy. Reporter: She booked lodging through air bnb. It was like a dream vacation home. Reporter: The person she connected with directed her to a property manager at an e-mail address that looked real. He directed her to wire him the money instead of paying through the website. She sent $2700. It turns out the property manager was a scammer. Not air bnb, and the listing was fake. She was shocked. I felt very cheated. This doesn't happen to me, I'm at smart, savvy internet user. Reporter: According to the FBI, more and more people are losing money to fake rental listings. They are so prevalent over the internet. When one fraud dies down, another one pops up again. Reporter: "Gma investigates" decide to look at the rental masht in our backyard. On Craig's list, $180 a night, a rooftop terrace with reflecting pool and 24-hour doorman included. A total of $560 for two nights and security deposit. We received a rental agreement, a contact number and even a photo of the guy we are supposed to meet. But when we arrive at the appointed date and time for him to show us the place, things get weird. He says he's at the airport waiting for a group of people from D.C. He's going to get her asap and he has the only set of keys. 30 minutes later, still waiting. You're still at the airport. Can you tell me the apartment number? That doesn't make sense. Say that again. You should know the apartment number. You don't have the number. More time passes. The phone kept cutting in and out. He wasn't sure what time it was. Several phone calls, countless texts and five hours later, our mystery renter stops responding and we give up. We find out the listing isn't real. The pictures on Craig's list have been lifted from the website of an apartment complex in New Jersey. He did not respond to our request for a comment and we did not get our money back. We reached out to Craig's list repeatedly, have not heard back. Experts say pay with a credit card and ask for photos. If you don't get it, be suspicious. As for Keira and Chris, their big day was not ruined. Air bnb refunded the money, saying they are very rare, and consumers can protect themselves by paying through the airbnb website and never by cash or transfer. Paula Faris, ABC news, New York. What's the old saying? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They did the right thing. Great job, Paula. Coming up, important holiday safety tips. How to protect yourself in the

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