Skip to main content

CAFC Bulletin: Vacation Rentals


Fraudsters create classified ads for vacation property rentals in popular tourist destinations. The ads are posted on trusted websites or the fraudsters mimic known vacation sites.

Interested consumers will receive prompt responses from the fraudsters. Their desired travel dates are always available.
To secure the booking, fraudsters will ask that a payment is made quickly. They may ask for a wire transfer or for money sent through a money service business. Fraudsters may also recommend a fake secure payment processor. This payment processor is only available outside of the trusted website. Finally, fraudsters may also offer a discount if the reservation is paid in full.

In the end, there is no new reservation linked to the consumer's account with the trusted website. Consumers will lose the ability to contact the fraudsters. In the worst cases, consumers will not realize they are victims until they arrive and there is no rental.

Warning Signs – How to Protect Yourself

  • Do not send money to strangers.
  • When entering into a rental agreement through a trusted service provider, you must use their payment provider to be eligible for their refund/cancellation policies.
  • Contact Equifax and Transunion if you have provided sensitive information on applications.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at1-888-495-8501 or report online at

This document is the property of the CAFC. It is loaned to your agency/department in confidence and it is not to be reclassified, copied, reproduced, used or further disseminated, in whole or part, without the consent of the originator. It is not to be used in affidavits, court proceedings or subpoenas or for any other legal or judicial purposes. This caveat is an integral part of this document and must accompany any information extracted from it.