With the Winter Olympics
coming up in February, the Better Business Bureau
is warning those planning a trip to British Columbia to be careful of scams when looking for rental accommodations.
According to the BBB, phony ads for rentals in the Vancouver-Whistler area are appearing on online classifieds ad sites such as Craigslist.
Lucky for those of us still in the preliminary planning stages of our Olympic dreams, these ads have a few telling giveaways:
• As with most things – if the deal sounds too good to be true it probably is. If the rental price is suspiciously low, then be suspicious (and walk away).
• The landlord is “out of the country” and can only communicate via email. According to the BBB, scammers are prone to saying they are out of the country on missionary work.
• A request to wire money through wire transfer services such as Western Union. It just so happens that money sent by wire transfer is extremely hard to trace and retrieve.
• The landlord requests a large deposit before showing you the rental or the keys to the rental. If you can't view the rental beforehand, it's often appropriate to sign the contract and ask to pay upon arrival.
One surefire way to avoid any scamming? Visit the official 2010 Olympics Destination Planner website
, which provides a wealth of information regarding accommodation and transportation during the Games.