Consumer protection attorney provides insight about online rental scams

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 5:01 PM EDT
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Contact 5 has done several stories about an increase in rental scams lately. Now WFLX is hearing from a consumer protection attorney who shared tips on how to avoid online traps.

“I never saw this happen before. It just seemed like everybody was legitimate,” Joseph Veres told Contact 5 back on June 2.

Veres spoke with Contact 5 after he lost $4,000 to a rental scam in Lake Clarke Shores.

Last week, Contact 5 spoke with Kyle Cohen in Lake Worth Beach who nearly fell for the same type of scam.

“I was pretty sure it was too good to be true. It was a two-bedroom apartment for $800 a month,” Cohen said.

That same week, Attorney General Ashley Moody sent out a warning about an increase in vacation rental scams this summer.

“Take a look at it and don’t just transact on blind faith,” said consumer protection attorney Michael Schiff.

Schiff called Contact 5 after seeing our stories, saying this is becoming way too common.

“They transact the rental through the internet, which I strongly advise not to do,” he said.

Schiff told Contact 5 there are some ways to avoid falling victim to these types of scams that many people don’t think about.

“If you don’t know the owner of the property, easiest thing is to check on the Palm Beach County appraiser’s website, or Broward or whatever county you live in,” said Schiff. “Look for the owner of the property, try to contact that owner and say we’re going to use your property for a period of time, are you the owner or something like that.”

Schiff also advises against using anything other than a credit card to pay for any online purchase.

“Don’t do the transactions with wiring funds. Do it with a credit card, try to do it through a reputable website,” he said. “You have to be careful and be on your guard.”

You can search Palm Beach County property records at

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