Fraudsters Seeking to Cash in on Greece’s Airbnb Fad
Aiming to profit from the short-term rental fad that has taken Greece by storm in the last few years, all the more individuals posing as realtors are emerging, according to the Real Estate Federation of Greece OMASE.
According to local media reports, the culprits approach individuals posting properties for short-term lease online, and posing as real estate agents promise to bring in revenue fast for a 2,000 to 3,000-euro sum in exchange. Once they pocket the money, they disappear.
More specifically, they ask the owners to hand over the management of the properties to them, which includes among others collecting the rental fees.
“Using excuses, the culprits stall handing over the takings to the owner, and some months later they disappear,” former OMASE president, Yiannis Revythis told To Ethnos daily, adding that to appear credible and valid they “usually set up so-called ghost companies as well as short-lived websites”.
Another common practice is for fraudsters to approach property owners seeking tenants. Instead, they suggest short-term rentals and take on the responsibility of managing the property from start to finish – refurbishment, site launch, welcoming the guests, etc. Once they get the cash, they disappear.
The federation is advising individuals interested in leasing their properties via online platforms to always make sure that realtors, agents, lawyers or tax officials have the relevant licensing which they will present ahead of any form activity.
At the same time, Revythis stresses that owners should not sign anything without their lawyer or accountant present.