Guiding consumers since 2009

Scammers target holidaymakers

By Staff Writer

Fly-by-night letting agents are conning holidaymakers out of their hard earned cash this winter according to John Roberts CEO of Just Property Group. These ‘operators’ generally scam consumers by over-promising and under-delivering on the holiday accommodation. Another common tactic is to rent out accommodation that has already been booked to other unsuspecting holidaymakers and making off with the deposit money.


Roberts explained that these ‘agents’ falsely advertise rental properties on the internet, usually for new developments. “Often the scammers pressure clients into paying a deposit, saying that the property is in demand, but that is the last they will see of the money and the property. These deals are mostly offered by agents you never meet; whose offices you have never visited and whose sole purpose is to lure you into paying a deposit on a property on which they have no mandate. It will also be the last you hear from them,” said Roberts.


Don’t be fooled
“We would suggest that you use a reputable letting company or a national brand to avoid being conned,” advised Roberts. He pointed out that local tourist junction boards can be sourced for names of reputable companies. “Also be sure to sign the lease before paying a deposit. If the letting agent asks you to deposit money into a bank account that is not a recognisable company bank account – don’t. Also ask the agency to provide you with proof that your deposit is kept in an interest bearing account,” he suggests.


If you are not sure whether something is a con refer to these four tell-tale scam signs provided by Just Property Group:


1.    A deal that is too good to be true, is often a scam.

2.    If an advert has only the person’s name and cell number, be wary. All reputable companies have websites with landline numbers.   

3.    The lease agreements and documentation are presented on unbranded stationery and the bank account into which the deposit must be paid not matching the company's name.

4.    Being pressurised into paying a deposit by the agent because "there is a waiting list and other tenants want the property," should raise some red flags.

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