Beware of Rental Scams

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Every day I hear more and more of rental scams occurring all over the nation.  If you are looking to rent a property beware of these scams.  Scammers use Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, and other real estate sights to hijack real estate listings. They go in and change the contact information and often use the name of the person who originally posted the ad. One way to avoid these scams is to use a real estate agent to help you find a rental. As a renter, you do not pay the real estate agent so it would be absolutely free. The person listing the property pays the realtor fees. If you choose not to use a realtor it is very important to be very careful.

If you are searching online for rentals pay attention to these signs to avoid potential scams.
  • Don’t send money to someone you have never met before for a rental you have never seen.
  • If you are asked to wire money this is a sure sign it is a scam. Most scammers ask you to wire either a security deposit, application fee, or first month’s rent.  They may even send you a contract to make it look legitimate.
  • Search for the ad on the internet and see if you find the same ad listed under a different name. This is a red flag that the listing may be a scam.
  • Beware of people who say they are out of the country or out of town. You may be told that a lawyer or agent is working on the person’s behalf. They may even have a plan to get you the keys and could possibly mail you a fake key. f you can’t meet the person, see the rental, or sign a lease before you pay, it is probably a scam.

Anthony Coleman, Realtor, Top Guns Real Estate

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