It turns out that several people lost money to the fake owner, but 7 On Your Side’s Nina Pineda stepped in to help.
“We are a family of all teachers, this year has been difficult for all of us,” said Stéphanie Tsimpedes.
The Tsimpedes family splurged after the lockdown and rented a VRBO-listed Fire Island home for three families.
It was right on the beach and there was even a pool.
They emailed who they believed to be the owner through the website – a man responded to contact him on his cell phone instead, then requested payment but not through the VRBO portal.
“We originally sent a $ 1,000 deposit through Zelle, then the rest through Venmo,” Tsimpedes said.
The rest was $ 7,000 and after asking him to send the money to two different people on Venmo, Tsimpedes realized it was a scam.
The person acting as the owner had copied the ad from a legitimate home – down to the exact wording. Both were offered for rental through VRBO.
“The day before he was made aware of the same scam by four other people,” Tsimpedes said.
The real owner said he reported the fraud to VRBO every time.
“I think they would remove the list until they investigate,” Tsimpedes said.
Instead, Tsimpedes’ family had sent a con artist $ 7,000 and had nowhere to go.
Luckily they reported the fraud quickly, cash apps got $ 5,000 back, but when they asked VRBO for the rest …
“They explained to me that they were going through a process to verify if it was a fraud,” Tsimpedes said.
7 On Your Side asked VRBO to refund the rest of the scammed money.
“So grateful that we can then use that money to rent another vacation home,” Tsimpedes said.
They managed to get the $ 7,000 back and move it to another house on the shore.
VRBO recalled that its Book with Confidence guarantee protects customers who pay through the website against fraudulent ads, and although in this case the protection was not activated because the Tsimpedes family paid for the website, they were happy to return the money as a gesture. of goodwill in the hope that they will have a good vacation next time.
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