We have recently been contacted by a repeat vacation guest and informed that criminals are posting fake advertisements of actual Minnesota vacation rental properties on Craigslist. Guests have sent vacation rental inquiries through craigslist to criminals and receive fraudulent property information, property management credentials and wire payment instructions for a reservation. Guests make a reservation and payment to a criminal that has no legal authority to rent the vacation property.
Think about the nightmare of organizing a vacation for family and friends, paying significant rent in advance and traveling long distances, only to find out they have been duped by a criminal on craigslist. Please be careful...
We contacted the Police Department and many other forms electronic law enforcement to report these incidents.
Remember, anyone can post anything on craigslist with zero authentication or validation of the advertiser. Mystic Loon Vacation Property Management doesn't advertise on craigslist because there are too many fraudulent scams.
For your safety the following is a list of due diligence items that Mystic Loon Vacation Property Management company recommends to help ensure positive experience renting a vacation property:
1. Do business with a reputable vacation property management company, it is safe and doesn't cost anymore money. The prices for vacation rental are based on local market prices for other similar properties, regardless of who manages the property. Vacation rental owners pay the vacation property management companies a percentage of the rent price (an incentive for higher occupancy) for managing their property. Property management companies know that positive guest experiences/reviews drive higher occupancy rates.
2. Don't do business with someone unwilling to have phone conversation. Screen the owner or property manager for their specific information (e.g. full name, business name, physical office address, email, phone number, property website, Facebook page, Twitter account, chamber of commerce registration and reviews on reputable vacation rental websites).
3. Never wire money for domestic vacation rentals. Vacation rental companies prefer checks and will usually accept credit card or Paypal payments (for an additional fee). Wire transfers are a very expensive form of payment and are generally only accepted by vacation rental companies for payments from guest from other countries.
4. Send check payment and signed contract through the United States Post Service (USPS) to a physical address (avoid PO boxes) that is in reasonable proximity to the vacation rental. USPS mail fraud is a Federal crime and is investigated thoroughly.
5. Expect a follow up communication once your contract and payment has been received.
At this time we are not aware of any Mystic Loon fraudulent reservations and payments made through craigslist. Many thanks from Mystic Loon Vacation Property Management to our repeat guests for bringing this to our attention.