Florida Keys debut reporting system for vacation rental scams and fraud
FLORIDA KEYS — A new toll-free phone number and email address have been launched to report illegal and noncompliant vacation home rentals, as well as vacation rental scams, in the Florida Keys.
The phone number for reporting such occurrences to the Monroe County Tax Collector’s Office is 1-855-422-4540 (U.S. and Canada), or the tax office can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Callers can choose to identify themselves or remain anonymous. Creation of the new reporting conduits arose out of recommendations made in a research study conducted by Florida Keys & Key West tourism council.
“Scams cheat visitors of their money, while illegal vacation rentals may evade licensing procedures established to ensure units have been inspected, meet safety standards and have a Keys-based licensed manager,” said Harold Wheeler, the tourism council’s director.
“Issues with illegal vacation rentals and scams are not unique to the Keys. “It’s an international problem, but we want to proactively foster solutions,” Wheeler said.
Monroe County Tax Collector Danise Henriquez said that illegal or noncompliant units often elude sales taxes, resulting in a loss of revenue for such resources as infrastructure maintenance and improvements that benefit visitors.