Action News Troubleshooters: Internet rental scams

These days you can find and rent just about anything online.

But before using these sites, make sure you take steps to protect yourself and your money.

The warning comes to us from Angela Raymond, who has dedicated her life to helping kids.

Angela runs a daycare out of her house and has adopted six children, so when she called on us, the Troubleshooters were determined to help.

Angela and her kids had a special adventure planned last month: a trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana for a family reunion.

"Letting them down is really hard when they are expecting something," she said.

To avoid the cost of hotel rooms and flights. Angela went online to find an RV and - through a website that's like an Airbnb for recreational vehicles - Angela struck a deal with a guy who calls himself Mitch and claims to own Barnes RV Rentals.

"I had my credit card and stuff set up because it asks you to put your bank information, which I did," she said.

The website specifically tells prospective renters not to communicate with RV owners or make payments outside of its platform. But at Mitch's request, Angela did wire the bulk of the deposit directly to him.

And the day the RV was supposed to be delivered:

"No, an RV never rolled up," she said. "I had to go into a rescue mode. It was like, 'What are we going to do?'"

Angela contacted the Action News Troubleshooters.

Unfortunately, the Troubleshooters' investigation shows both Mitch and his company appear to be bogus, created solely to perpetuate a scam. But there is good news.

When the Troubleshooters contacted the rental website, the company agreed to send her a check for $1,900, despite Angela having sidestepped its warnings and user guidelines,

And here's your Troubleshooter lesson: when using a rental website, follow the guidelines. They're in place to protect you. Never communicate or pay anyone directly.

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