Dolce Vita - 3802 N Ocean Blvd - Myrtle Beach SC
Since early Spring, my co-lister, Amanda Gallup, and I been fielding phone calls on one of our oceanfront listings along the golden mile of Myrtle Beach. We were excited at first thinking all the calls were from interested buyers, but to our horror we soon realized a much more sinister plan was in action. We have the house listed "for sale" through the local realtors Multi Listing Service (MLS) and scammers have pirated it and placed this awesome house on vacation rental websites all over the net!!
Not only have they created a fictitious rental listing the scammers have stolen the professional photo's Amanda has taken. The scammers represented the house as privately owned and listed it for rent, at an incredibly low weekly rental price. Fortunately, many of the interested
renters have googled the address and see where we had it listed for sale and called us! We are able to stop several folks from getting scammed....but for others it is a dream vacation turned nightmare. Last week a couple and their three children arrived in Myrtle Beach to start their family vacation at the beach!! Sadly they have sent the scammer the requested money order/cashier check and paid in advance, signed the agreement and received a bogus set of keys through the mail!! When they arrived, after driving for two days, the keys didn't work and they were out several thousand dollars!!! This poor family had driven from Canada and arrived late at night to discover they were the victims of a scam. This is just one of the sad stories we have dealt with. I literally just got off the phone with another victim out $3,500.00!
I can't say that the scammers are sophisticated, they are just crooks. They provide a phone number and a mailing address on the rental website and represent themselves as the homeowner. I actually spoke with Harry Yatsko, the supposed home owner of Dolce Vita (which I know to be untrue), and he was happy to speak with me, until he realized who I was and then he slammed the phone down on me and blocked my calls. As we uncover the layers of deception, the scammer keep changing the information, they keep changing the place to send the payment...sometimes it was in Arizona, sometimes the mid-west or California and now they are using PAYPAL.
Here are our words of caution:
*NEVER send cash, Money Order or Cashiers Check when you're not sure who the receiving party is.
*If the price is too good to be true, it probably is!!
*Google or search the address of any property you're interested in renting and if it's listed as rental and for sale, call the agent that has the listing!! They will know what's going on with the property.
*If you're a victim of a scam, report it to your local police and keep good records of your correspondence with the scammer.
*We've learned the hard way that PAYPAL doesn't warrant services, but Visa/Master Card will - so keep that in mind!
We're still trying to get this house removed off of the rental websites. The website owners have been very cooperative and removed the house, but the listing has been added to syndicated sites, so it keeps popping up again.
This entire situation has been sad for us, our seller has been frustrated, we've been frustrated and spent a lot of time trying to fix this and innocent folks have been scammed out of their beach vacation and money!
The internet is truly the world wide web!!