Home and Condo Renters Beware
Beware of the following scams or screaming ‘Red Flags’ when looking to rent or lease a home, condo or townhouse.
Money Wiring - if ever asked to wire funds via Western Union, Money Grams, etc. or through a 'escrow service', beware. We have never seen an instance where one of these payment methods are preferred by a property owner or manager.
Asking For Money Before Seeing The Rental - Scammers love to take advantage of customers that are in a hurry. Someone that has to move immediately, in a market where rental inventory is low, might do anything it takes to get that ideal home locked in. But sending money - by any means - before verifying the property exists and is available is a mistake. This advice excludes the standard request for an application fee that will hold the property. However, you should search Google to make sure your dealing with someone that’s reputable before sending a hefty deposit. Do they have a website? Are they willing to speak with you over the phone?
Priced To Low - If the price is to good to be true, it probably is. If its three-quarters or less that what the rents in the area are there is a good chance its a scam.
Sub-Lease, Verify - by seeing their lease and speaking with the landlord and the owner of title. Make sure their lease allows it as those that do require new tenant approval from the owner
Copycat Rentals - very common for a cybercriminal to copy a real listing and treat it as their own. That's why its important to deal with a State Licensed Realtor.
Sad Stories - if the person listing the rental gives you a heartbreaking story, they're likely trying to play on your emotions.
Winner Scams - if the supposed landlord/property manager tells you that you've been 'specially selected', its a scam.
Email Address Structure - emails with non-U.S. domains, such as yahoo.uk, are probably coming from a scam account.