Online Rental Scams Target Renters and Landlords
cautions consumers when using online websites to find a rental home
Texas - July 20, 2011
seconds of searching the Internet, potential home renters can find all the
information they need about a possible new home, such as pictures, prices and
virtual tours. However, such tools give scammers the perfect opportunity to
take advantage of consumers. Better Business Bureau warns renters to be on the
lookout for phony ads on Craigslist and other Internet services aimed at
typically fall victim to these scams after responding to an online classified
for a rental property. Victims say they are asked by the supposed landlord to
wire money for the deposit and first month’s rent in order to receive the keys
to the rental home. When asked if the renters can view the property prior to
wiring money, the landlords claim to be out of the country and unable to show
result of this scam, many shocked homeowners have received knocks at their
doors from people who were planning to move into their new rental home. Often,
the actual homeowners have their house up for sale — not rent — and have
pictures posted online that the scammers steal for their phony listings.
consumers of the following red flags:
·The deal sounds too good to be true.
Scammers will often list a rental for a very low price to lure victims. Find
out how comparable listings are priced. If the rental comes in suspiciously
low, consider walking away.
· The landlord is located elsewhere
and prefers to communicate via email. Scammers might say they
have just been relocated out of the country for a job or missionary work. If
the landlord is truly overseas, there is also no way to get a copy of a lease
· The landlord requires a substantial
deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the property.
Don’t pay any money before inspecting the home, inside and out. Most reputable
Realtors will allow potential home renters to view and see the property before
taking any money.
· The landlord asks the renter to wire
money through services such as Western Union or Money Gram.
Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve. Once
the scammers have picked it up, there is little recourse, if any, for getting
any money back.
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