Scammers take advantage of whatever they can get, and what better market to set a scam than in the rental world? Like cheese on a mouse trap, scammers dangle too-good-to-be-true prices on incredible homes, asking for large deposits wired up front, all while claiming the inability to show the home. Excuses like “I’m out of state,” or “I don’t have the keys just yet” pop up as the scammer tries to rope their victims in.
But it’s not just potential renters that are victimized by said rental scams. Homeowners, too, find themselves targeted as scammers pull the homeowner’s names from public records and use them as their own in an attempt to sell their rental scam. Just recently in a story reported by 9News, a family in Highlands Ranch had their property up for sale for $315,000 only to find their own ad on Trulia pulled and replaced by a rental scam advertising the home for $800/month! To make things worse, the scammer’s email had their names in it, spelled correctly, to fool even the most wary of renters who might pull public records for themselves.
So for both homeowners and renters alike, there are a few good things to watch out for when advertising a property to avoid rental scams:
1) Prices that are just too good to be true.
2) Will only communicate via email or text.
3) The “owner” asks for money up front prior to viewing the rental
4) Unusually high deposits or up front fees
5) Convenient excuses are made for not being able to show the property
6) Double check any online ad against other sites. If it seems fishy, it probably is. Flag it!