As an agent in my office who is very active with residential sales, as well as the leasing of properties, I see this same thing, so wanted to share to help keep someone from falling victim.
So, you are looking for a home to rent , right?
Where is the first place most people start looking these days for rentals? Craiglist! GOTCHA, is exactly what these hopeful scammers are saying!
You find a place that works for you, price is “to good to be true”, and you jump on the phone or email right away. GOTCHA!
Upon gathering the information from whomever you are speaking with, you are informed that they are “out of town” or “out of the country” for work, church, or other reason, and upon received security deposit from you, they will overnight you keys. My question would be , is how would they overnight you keys from out of the country???
I have seen to many times people fall victim to this scam and wanted to share with you. As a matter of fact, just last night, I received a phone call from a mother who started the conversation, ” I know we are moving pretty fast, and you already have the paperwork, but can we see the property this weekend?” To be honest, I had no clue who I was speaking with, and upon some questions, she was calling because they had applied to rent a home in my neighborhood. I SOLD THAT HOME 2 MONTHS AGO??????
After looking online on popular rental posting sites, there it was. My listing, my descriptions, my pictures, and even my name!!! It had a phone number that was not even local to that area, and immediately noticed that the rent was drastically lower than it should be. ( Remember, if it is to good to be true, chances are it probably is)
Online is a great place to start looking for rentals, so dont be afraid to start looking online
Please, please do not sign anything, or most importantly DO NOT SEND OR DELIVER MONEY without seeing the place.
Always visit the place in person first.
When you come across one you like, it is not a bad idea to review other rentals in that area to compare rent amounts to see if it is comparable to the area.
Most properties on Craigslist are being advertised by private Landlords who choose not to work with an Agent or Brokerage, so dont be scared of those, but do be cautious. There are ways to verify legal owners.
If you come across an ad that “appears” to be advertised by an Agent, google them. More than likely they have a personal website, are featured on their company website, or have posted properties before and contact them through that number. ( Speaking from experience, I have been contacted several times from people who simply googled me and came across my Facebook Business Page to verify me before calling a fake ad.)
Hopefully, this is a starting point on what to look for and things to do to prevent falling victim, and losing your hard earned money for a rental.