Please bear in mind that there are a lot of scammers out there who advertise properties that they do not actually own. To stay on the safe side, here are some basic "rules" for holidaymakers wishing to book a private villa.
- Ask the owner for their website address. 90% of owners have websites for their properties, as it is a bit of a pain for them having to email lots of photos every time someone enquires. On the website you should find a landline and/or mobile number to contact them on, or even an email.
- Most websites have a link to the web designer who created and maintains the site, and who probably also took the photos of the property, so they will know the villas and can confirm that they are legit.
- If you ask to Whatsapp on the mobile and it matches the number you find on the website then you should be safe, as it is impossible to fake a mobile account. The only person you can contact when you add +34 695566819 to your Whatsapp is myself, and it will match the phone numbers you see on this website.
- If the owners are the genuine ones, they will have electric and water bills they can send to prove that they are legitimate, or even copies of the deeds, in case you should enquire.
- If you use Facebook, look for their Facebook profile. Most scammers are constantly making up new accounts as they get caught, so an account that is only a few months old may be a warning sign. Also, see if they have posted photos of themselves inside the villa and if not, ask them to email you these.
- You can join Facebook groups like Lanzarote Owners Connect and Lanzarote Holiday Lets run by Steve Cummings and Sally-Anne Etheridge, who know all the legitimate owners and can vouch for them.
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- A genuine owner can send pictures of their last holiday in the villa which matches their profile and also the villa.
- When asked for a deposit, only pay into an account with the same name as the owner.
- When chatting, ask them for recommendations in the area - bars, restaurants, clubs, etc.
- Ask them for the address of the villa. You can then check on Google Earth that it matches the photos.
- Ask for a number to contact them on - if they refuse, be suspicious.
- A lot of owners' websites have contact forms. Send an enquiry and you should receive a reply from the genuine owner.
- Look up the website domain in Whois and the owner's name should appear. You can also see if the site has been around for years, but if it was created only in the last week, that should raise questions.
- Any contact from me will be from my business email, which is admin[at]internationaltelecoms[dot]com.
- And finally, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!