Couple loses thousands after renting house in online scam

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Like many people, John McFaddin and his wife travel to Southwest Florida every winter. They started planning their trip last May and came across a house on VRBO—a short-term rental site like Air BNB.

The only problem: the house in question is for sale and the realtor says he had no idea it was listed as a vacation rental.

“It was their website, it wasn’t like we just found a home on the internet. It was their legitimate website—went through hundreds of homes looking at them,” McFaddin said.

He says they put down $1,900 for the house, and the second payment had to get put down three weeks before their trip.

“When we tried to make the final payment, it said that the payment schedule is enabled so it would not take the payment,” McFaddin said.

Shirley Withrow says her neighbor put the house up for sale about six months ago, two months after the McFaddins put the first payment down.

The person who is listed as the owner of property claimed to not know why the house was for rent on VRBO.

Last year, the city of Cape Coral discussed applying a fee and a set of rules for short-term rentals. City officials have not passed those regulations yet.

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