Big Bear, CA, March 11, 2015 – The Big Bear Sheriff’s Station has recently received numerous calls regarding a scam involving Big Bear residences being advertised as vacation rentals. The way it works is this, the victim finds a vacation rental through a legitimate site such as TripAdvisor and is able to view property details and photographs. When they go to book the property, they are redirected to a private e-mail account that belongs to the scammer. Arrangements are made to make payment for the rental property by wiring funds to a designated account through a service such as Western Union. The victim even receives a receipt. When they arrive at the property, they are typically greeted by a homeowner who has no knowledge of any rental agreement. Victims are being scammed out of several thousand dollars at a time.
This scam is not restricted to Big Bear. If you are using the Internet to book a getaway, keep yourself from becoming a victim of this by looking for these common red flags. Are you being redirected to another website? Is there poor spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in the ‘property manager’s’ communications? Do they want you to pay by cashier’s check or unsecured wire transfer? If you answer yes to any of those questions, you should consider choosing another site to plan your vacation.
To report fraud, contact the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station at (909)866-0100.