Scammers often target young adults, families, and active duty military members due to their short term housing needs and constant transitions as they attend college, move to start new careers, begin families of their own, and transition to new military assignments. Many consumers have been victimized by rental scams while searching for housing online.
Most often a scammer will post an advertisement for a property to rent at a great price with free internet sites such as Craigslist. The advertisements appear to be legitimate, often containing what appears to be property details along with a variety of photos to entice victims.
Once interest is shown in the property, the scammer pressures that consumer to send a deposit immediately, usually requesting it via wire transfer. After the money is sent, the victim never hears from the scammer again as the property doesn’t exist or isn’t really for rent.
Tips for Avoiding Rental Scams:
- Avoid any listing that requires you to act immediately or pressures you to act urgently. Be wary of sending deposit money via wire transfer or other money transmittal services, such as Western Union or MoneyGram.
- Never provide your personal identifying information including your social security number and banking information to an unknown individual or entity, especially to those contacts which are made solely through email.
- Be wary of poorly written correspondence or advertisements that contain misspellings, improper use of language, or unusual formatting.
- Always use a reputable property management company or agency to locate legitimate housing by checking out the company with an agency such as the Better Business Bureau.
If you believe you have been victimized by a rental scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.