online vacation rental scamsPennsylvania's attorney general is warning vacationers and property owners looking for renters to be wary of online scams, following reports to the state's Bureau of Consumer Protection of fake ads and e-mails.

"Internet sites like Craigslist or other online classified ads, are increasingly popular among consumers who are shopping for last-minute bargains on rental homes or homeowners who are hoping to earn more rental income during the summer," AG Tom Corbett said in a statement. "Unfortunately, these websites are also popular with scam artists who are hoping that an attractive offer will tempt some consumers to respond without researching the transaction."

Property owners can be scammed by thieves sending worthless checks for more than the rental amount, then asking for a refund by wire transfer before the bank bounces the check, Corbett says. He cautions property owners to watch out for potential renters who offer to send money before the deal is worked out and who don't ask about the location, size or condition of the property.

The Better Business Bureau tells would-be vacation renters to get everything in writing, take a virtual tour and check references before agreeing. Do the homework and check up on a place that has a rental price too good to be true.

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