We're back this week talking about rental scams. As summer comes closer and students start moving in and out of housing, more houses will become available and more people will be looking for a place to live. Scammers know this and will take advantage of eager renters.
Scams This Week 5/10/22
May 10, 2022
Be wary of using social media or classified advertisements websites to find your rental.
Often, the scammer poses as the landlord or rental company for the home and posts it on Craigslist or Facebook. The listing is complete with pictures of the home that were taken from a legitimate rental site. The address is legitimate and the ad encourages renters or buyers to visit the site and peer through the windows. If you see other rental or for sale signs in the yard, reach out to the listed rental company directly.
Even if you can get in through a lockbox, that doesn't make it legit. The average person can sign up for and gain access to a lockbox through a legitimate rental company. Criminals are taking advantage of this by signing up themselves or having the victim sign up.
Be wary of any listing on free sites like Facebook or Craigslist. The "landlord" will likely say they can't meet in person or speak over the phone, so all communication is over text, email, or IM. No legitimate company will ask you to pay through gift cards, wire transfers, or cash apps. There may also be a sense of urgency and the scammer will make it seem like a now or never deal. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
With the housing shortage, these will likely never go away. Please always google the address, and do a search of the address before sending any money or anyone claiming to be the landlord. Try and talk in person or over the phone. Do not just rely on messaging. Don’t send money to someone you haven’t met and try not to use peer-to-peer payment platforms, especially if you're being asked to send money to a different person not associated with the residence.