12 News Investigates: How to avoid property rental scams

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Long-time realtor Marla Toman rents out properties of her own and manages others in Jackson and Natchez using Airbnb. When you work with properties online, you have to be aware of fake guests looking to book or other red flags you may come across every day.

“Airbnb, I have to say does a good job in helping vet. When someone books through Airbnb, they have a score, or they have a rating, or they have none. And let’s just say if they have five stars and multiple reviews, they can book instantly,” said Toman.

If the potential guests don’t have a review, she recommends asking questions before allowing them to book.

Airbnb has several safeguards in place, and the company says when you use the site, stay on the platform throughout the entire process. If an Airbnb host on the site asks you to pay for your entire reservation off-site, report them. In that case, it could be a scam.

“They’re really just after your money to make it not traceable,” said John O’Hara, CEO of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Mississippi.

If you’re the host and you want to avoid having your identity stolen, don’t show pictures of your family.

“Don’t put a lot of personal items in the house. You don’t need pictures, and remove your personal things,” said Toman.

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