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Call Kurtis: Fake Vacation Rental Scam Uses Real Name

FAIRFIELD (CBS13) — A Fairfield man said he paid more than a thousand dollars for a vacation rental home in San Diego that turned out to be a scam.

Tim Tieu found the luxury high rise rental in San Diego on Craigslist. The ad listed the apartment for $220 a night.

"It's like a brand new condo," Tim said. "The photos were really nice."

Tim said he emailed the owner, Jay Dunham, to set it up.

When the person asked him to wire the money, Tim smelled a scam. So, he asked if he could send him the money via PayPal instead.

"I assumed PayPal was a safe way of going. It was almost like using a credit card." Tim said.

Jay agreed, so Tim sent him half the money, $1050, via PayPal. But, he said the person on the other end of the emails quit responding, and Tim thought he was out his money,

"I wanted to his this guy really bad," he said.

So, Tim went searching online for this so-called Jay.

"I actually Googled 'Jay Dunham in San Diego' and it happened to be a real person." Tim said.

He is a real person who owns vacation rental properties. But the legitimate Jay Dunham told CBS13 he is a victim too. Scammers have copied his listing and posted it on Craigslist.

So is Tim protected because he used PayPal?

The Better Business Bureau says no, according to PayPal's Terms of Service.

"They don't cover rental transactions for property rentals," said BBB's Gary Almond.

We reached out to PayPal, which decided to refund Tim's money because the seller didn't respond to Tim's dispute in 10 days.

Meaning Tim's family was able to take that vacation to San Diego after all.

Tim used Craigslist to find vacation rental homes in the past and had no issues.

Here are some ways to protect yourself: don't book too far out and use a credit card. If you find a problem, you can challenge the charge within 60days.

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