Con artist have a new trick up their sleeves, and it can be a doozy. These rental scams can be done from anywhere in the world and it is pretty simple. Con Artists find a nice home that is listed for sale or rent by a reputable company. Then they copy all the photos and advertise it for rent at about half the going rate.
If you are looking for a home to rent, this can look like a really good deal, and you won’t want to miss out on it, so you email them right away. The standard response will be something like this:
“I am out of the state. Please send me your name, social security number, date of birth, and address. I will then approve your application and mail you the keys.”
If you fall for this, and email some stranger online all your personal information so they can steal your identity, they will see what else they can get. They will say something like this:
“Congratulations, I have approved your application! Please wire me the first months rent and security deposit, and then you can have the keys.”
See how easy it is? See how hard it is to tell that it is a scam?
I can’t say how many people have fallen for these rental scams, but I’m sure it is plenty.
Steps to help keep you from becoming a rental scam victim.
- Make sure you meet a real live person at the home you would like to rent
- Never wire money to someone you don’t know. Ever. No matter what. Never.
- Beware of websites that allow free postings. Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Etc.
- Realtor.com is the only website sanctioned and monitorted by the National Association of Realtors. You can trust this site.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.