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Beware of Tahoe vacation rental scams on Craigslist, police say

South Lake Tahoe police warn that tourists seeking vacation rentals are getting scammed on Craigslist.
South Lake Tahoe police warn that tourists seeking vacation rentals are getting scammed on Craigslist.

As the ski and holiday season gets underway, South Lake Tahoe police are warning tourists about a vacation rental scam circulating on Craigslist.

The Police Department said scam artists are using pictures and a long description of an actual vacation house to lure victims. The perpetrators then require renters to pay in advance, typically by check or Western Union.

Victims then arrive to find that the supposed rental belongs to a local resident or other renters who had nothing to do with the listing.

Channel 40 reported last month on a Fairfield couple who booked four nights during Thanksgiving week at a South Lake Tahoe rental house for $1,200, only to find the rental listing was not legitimate.

Police recommend the following:

▪ Use a credit card rather than bank wires, certified checks or other services that do not refund your money.

▪ Verify that the person or company listing the vacation rental is legitimate. If it is an individual, ask for references and work contacts, and verify that information.

▪ Make sure that your calls are answered. If you have to leave a message each time and wait for a call back, police advise you to avoid the situation because scammers often rely on message services. Also, look up any phone number in online search engines to ensure that it is legitimate and associated with the person you’re calling.

Kevin Yamamura: 916-326-5548, @kyamamura

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