Since the coronavirus restrictions have lifted, many people have been looking to plan a summer vacation. They have been looking to book flights, stay in hotel rooms, and rent a car in advance so that way everything is planned out by the time they have reached their destination. However, what happens when they reach their destination only to find that the rental car they paid for is nowhere to be found? Unfortunately, this has happened to many people as they get to their location only to find that they can’t find the rental car they have purchased. This is because scammers have become clever and have created fake websites that look like legit rental car websites. They lure victims in and trick them out of their hard-earned money. In this article, we will learn how scammers trick victims in these rental car scams and how to avoid them.
Why is it So Hard to Get a Rental Car This Summer?
According to the New York Times, When the pandemic started in 2020, people weren’t renting cars and fleets as much to avoid getting COVID-19. Because of this, rental car companies were forced to sell off some of their cars and fleets to try to make their money back from low rental rates. Now, people feel more comfortable traveling as pandemic restrictions lift and the COVID-19 vaccines make their rounds.
However, rental car companies are having trouble increasing their inventory at a quick rate. There is a computer chip shortage delaying vehicle production. Also, manufacturers are focusing more on the car retail industries, since that’s what produces the most profit. This makes it to where there are only a few cars to rent while the car rental supply is so high, making car rentals more expensive. Therefore, scammers are taking advantage of these expensive rates to advertise rental cars at too-good-to-be-true rates. They then steal their victims’ money and don’t provide victims with their rental cars.
How Do These Rental Car Scams Work?
Scammers create fake websites with fake customer service numbers, advertising rental cars at too-good-to-be-true rates. Victims think they are getting a good deal on a car rental, since they are expensive on other car rental websites, and decide to get more information on the advertised rental car. They either purchase it on the website using their information and financial information, or they call the fake customer service line which also asks for this information.
Once they hand over this information, scammers use it to commit identity theft and drain their bank accounts. Victims get to their destination without their rental car and realize that it was all a scam. Now they have to figure out transportation services last minute since they have no way to get to and from where they want to go while out of money.
How to Avoid Rental Car Scams
- Don’t give out your personal or financial information to any website you don’t know.
- Do your research on the company before purchasing a rental car on it. If there are good reviews, then you know it’s a legit website. However, if there are bad reviews or no reviews, then it may not be a legit website.
- If it doesn’t make sense to hand over certain information to rent a car, such as a social security number, don’t do it.
- Don’t click on links in phishing emails that advertise too-good-to-be-true deals on rental cars.
- Make sure to stick with known rental car websites such as Enterprise or Expedia.
- Make sure there is a known rental car location to go to before renting the car.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you’ve been wondering how to avoid rental car scams.