PORTLAND -- Anyone planning to rent a vacation home this summer should beware of schemes that take advantage of those who just want to get away for a week or two.

There are plenty of legitimate vacation rental companies. But some of the scammers, who almost all operate online, even hijack those websites to look more official.

The Better Business Bureau offers some tips, including: If the price seems too good to be true, don t even consider it.

And when the renter only wants to communicate by email or refuses to provide contracts, those are major red flags.

The Better Business Bureau has gotten in the neighborhood of about 3,800 inquiries this year in the State of Oregon, and 38 complaints, said spokesman David Quinlan. We expect those numbers to double in the next three months.

If you have doubts, always request proof of ownership. And remember, property management companies are required to register with the secretary of state.

Finally, never pay all of the money up front and never wire it. For a deposit, use a credit card or PayPal in case you need to dispute the charges.

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