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How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams When Planning Your Destin Vacation

As one of the longest-operating vacation rental companies in Destin, Florida, there is nothing worse than having to tell an excited visitor who just arrived in town that the beautiful Destin vacation rental home or condominium that they thought they reserved and paid for is not legitimate, and they have been the victim of a scam.

Common vacation rental scams include fake vacation rental listings, non-reputable booking sites, being rushed to make the reservation and unusual payment methods. Here’s what to look for when booking a vacation rental for your family. 


A fake vacation rental listing may be a completely bogus property that doesn’t exist, or it could be a legitimate property that is being falsely represented by a scammer.  Scammers will often post stolen images on non-traditional vacation booking sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Craig’s List. These are legitimate websites for purchasing goods but not necessarily for booking vacations. The listings are often missing critical information and/or reviews and the contact information is cryptic or non-existent.  If you can’t find an email address and phone number of the renter, we recommend being wary of making a payment.   


If you are being rushed or pushed to make a reservation, consider it a warning sign. Scammers know that the more time you have to investigate a listing or a rental company, the better chance of figuring out if it’s a scam. We recommend taking your time and talking with the host/representative whenever possible.  


Perhaps the biggest red flag that it is a vacation rental scam is the use of unusual payment methods.  Most online booking sites have a secure online portal for processing vacation rental payments with a debit or credit card.  A clear red flag is a request for payment by certified check, cashier’s check, gift card, unsecured wire transfer or cryptocurrency.  Requests to be paid by a cash app, such as Venmo, can also be an indicator of a scam.


One way to ensure it is a legitimate rental is to use legitimate vacation rental booking websites such as VRBO or AirBNB or book direct with a reputable vacation rental company. Before sending payment, always confirm that the dates of your stay are accurate and know the company/website’s cancellation policy. Last but not least, if you can make your payment through a credit card, this will give you added protection in fighting the charge if you are scammed and have a better chance of getting your money back.  


Now is a great time to start planning your next Destin vacation with a reputable vacation rental company. Locally owned and operated since 1985, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties is a proud member of VRMA (Vacation Rental Manager’s Association), The Better Business Bureau, and the Destin and Walton County Chambers of Commerce.  Newman-Dailey is open 7 days a week and you will always talk to a live employee when you call our office located in Miramar Beach.  We employ the latest technology to keep your information and payments confidential.  We have been helping Destin vacationers have memorable vacations for more than 38 years, and we would love to assist you with your next visit to the beach.

Start planning by viewing our South Walton and Destin vacation rentals online and/or call one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-225-7652 to help you narrow your search and discuss options. Remember to always book direct to mitigate third-party fees and enjoy our best rate guarantee.

We look forward to welcoming you to the beach!

Published on Monday, October 23, 2023