When you’re looking to find a new rental property, it’s important to know the signs of a possible scam. Recently, scam artists have been stealing rental listings, lowering the price and posting those fake ads online, especially on Craigslist, and posing as the landlord. They’ll price it attractively, remove the address and contact information, and wait for someone to message them through the site’s messaging portal.
Knowing the red flags of scams will decrease your chance of being a victim of a scam and possibly losing out on money.
Scammers can be identified a few different ways:
- Using out of state numbers or Google Voice numbers. Scammers will hide behind a fake phone number. Google Voice numbers can be regenerated and once you’ve been scammed and catch on, the scammer will change their number and you won’t be able to contact them.
- They won’t be local, familiar with the property or able to meet you at the property. They won’t know many specific details about the property and will sometimes just give you a code to enter the property yourself. Legitimate companies do use electronic lock boxes for convenient self-showing, but those systems often require you to register through a site and verify your identity before entering the property.
- They ask you to send, wire or transfer money-will say things like “Disregard the Real Estate company information, we fire them and are leasing it ourselves”. It is best to just to double check with the real estate company before you get more involved. Try calling them to ask about the property and get more information to confirm.
Keep these things in mind and you won't fall prey to a scammer!
Author: Hannah Jordan