Hey there, Mountain Lovers!
We had an interesting Phone Call this morning. A caller from another country wanted to rent one of our units. No worries — that’s what we do here! All day, every day. When it came time to confirm the rental and make payment, the caller asked a valid question: How do I know you won’t just take my money, and never call me again? After this many years of managing properties, we haven’t been asked that for awhile. So we figured we’d put together a list of Best Practices both for verifying our identity, and for safely confirming rentals online (in general).
Protect Yourself (General Version)
This can be a bit tough when travelling to far off countries with different laws, language, and societal norms. … but let’s try!
- Does the person or company have an AirBNB Host Account? AirBNB holds the money you pay until after you check in, so there is no incentive to advertise Fake Listings on AirBNB. Also, AirBNB requires Government Identification to verify a Traveller Account. The mere presence of an AirBNB Listing Profile can offer some security (even if you decide to rent the property direct with the Owner or Property Manager).
- Does the person or company have many online links available from a variety of advertisers? It’s time-consuming to keep all online advertisements updated. Doing so is often completed by licensing expensive software, or taking the time to update each individual ad. This often means that the more online presence someone has, the less likely they are to be up to no good.
- Look for Online Reviews. Google, VRBO, AirBNB. Sadly, online reviews can be faked. Look for a long history of online reviews, which include both positive and negative reviews. In this industry, it’s difficult to please everyone, so negative reviews can happen. … but a Scammer McScammerson will only pay for positive reviews. Also look for reviews with local details, as Fake Reviews will only give really generalized comments.
- Do a reverse Google Image Search. Creating online rental scams is, sadly, very easy. Just find some really pretty pictures on a Real Estate Listing. Steal the photos. Post a cheap rate. Wait for deposits to roll in from desperate renters. An Image Search allows you to see where else this same photo can be found on a Real Estate Listing.
- Ask the other person to meet via Video. Scammers don’t like video calls. They barely like Phone Calls.
- Fun Fact: If the company doesn’t appear on the Better Business Bureau at all, that is a Good Thing! Companies pay to get a BBB A+ Rating. If a consumer files a complaint about a company, the BBB contacts the company to pay to have the rating removed. Yeah — surprised? So were we. Please enjoy reading the 1 complaint we’ve received since 2009 — from the Guy who felt that
Protect Yourself (Rockies Rentals Version)
The fact that we’ve taken the time to post this blog probably tells you that we are just as committed to online safety just as much as you are. If you still have some doubts, Rockies Rentals can be verified in a number of ways:
- We have a physical office with the regular hustle and bustle of staff coming and going.
- We have a Toll Free Number. They aren’t cheap.
- We have advertisements on AirBNB since 2016 or so, and have a myriad of online reviews. Google “AirBNB Rockies Rentals Canmore”, and voila! It’s all of our many listings.
- We have advertisements on VRBO, and have a myriad of online reviews. Google “VRBO Rockies Rentals Canmore”, and Tada! Reviews dating back to 2006 or so.
- Our company is listed on Google, with another myriad of Online Reviews
- We’ve had a Town of Canmore Business License since 2009. Canmore’s Online Business Directory is online. Confirm that you are communicating via the same Phone Number and Email as listed in the Business Directory.
- We could also supply links to any number of newspaper articles, advertisements.
- Heck – you could even call Canmore’s Mayor and ask if we are a legitimate company. Canmore is a small town, and we’ve been here for a while.
This would be a lot of infrastructure to put in place just to make a quick buck.