Scammers are taking advantage of people in desperate need of housing. Many of the victims are captured on trusted sites offering rental homes. We have had clients and friends caught in the middle of these scams and want to make sure you don’t fall prey to these crafty criminals.
Sandra Guile with the Better Business Bureau is on top of this situation. She wrote an article for the NKY Tribune to help you avoid these rental scams.
Here is a situation that happens all too frequently, you find an online rental listing for a beautiful home with low rent. It sounds great! Unfortunately, these pictures and descriptions are stolen from other websites. Many times, the homes are listed for sale with reputable realtors. Here’s what happens next, the “landlord” replies to your message of interest saying they are out of town or too busy to show you the property. They will then try to make you hurry with your decision claiming there are others interested in the property. The scammer will ask for a security deposit and the first month’s rent. Sometimes, the scammer will ask for your personal information including your social security number. Once you provide the money and information, it’s gone forever. Unfortunately, college students are targets of this housing scam.
Avoid falling victim to this scam with these tips from the Better Business Bureau:
- Watch out for deals that are too good to be true. The first sign is the promise of low rents, extra amenities, and a great location. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam.
- Search online for similar properties. Do a quick search for the listing, the posted email address or phone number. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.
- If it’s nearby, see the property in person. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised.
- If you’ve been the victim of a rental scam, use your experience to help others avoid falling prey by reporting it to scamtracker.org.
We are here to help with all your real estate needs. If you are interested in buying or selling, give us a call.