Avoiding Rental Scams

If It's Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

Beware of Rental Scams

With all of the online tools available today, searching for the perfect rental home may seem pretty easy. Perhaps you have already been searching and think you have found the ideal rental that has everything you want at an unbelievable price. Before you decide to send a deposit read the rest of this article to make sure you are not a victim of a rental scam.

Unfortunately, online rental scams are a real problem that can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars and put your personal information at risk.

Here are some red flags to watch for when searching for your next rental:

  • The adage “if it’s too good to be true it probably is” still rings true. If you have been searching a particular area and find that the majority of properties are asking within a certain price range, but there is one that is asking substantially less, it could be a red flag that something is wrong. Be wary.
  • Out of the country. A sure sign that the listing is most likely a scam is when the landlord claims they are out of the country. They will usually want to handle the entire process through email and request all funds be wired to them. Run fast and run far from this rental.
  • Early background check. If you asked to provide information for a credit application before you have even seen the property, you could pretty well be sure you are looking at a scam to obtain your personal information. Never give out your sensitive personal information before you have been able to verify the trustworthiness of the person or company requesting it.
  • Missing address. Another red flag you may find is where no address for the rental property is listed, and the landlord offers excuses as to why they cannot divulge the address. Many times these ads will also fail to provide photos. Why would you waste your time on a property when you have no idea where it is or what it may look like.
  • Any request for money upfront. Other than a minimal application fee after you have seen and determined you want to rent the property, you should never give money up front before you have a lease.
  • Cash, Any request for cash in place of a check or certified check, particularly at the beginning of the rental process should be a deal killer. Never give cash. PERIOD.
  • While the majority of ads on Craigslist, Backpage, and other similar websites are legitimate, these sites tend to be where many scammers set up shop. They will create listings using phantom rentals, properties that are not for rent at all, or they may hijack valid rental ads, using photos and other info from these ads to create their own. Keep your guard up when responding to ads on these websites.

If you have any question about the authenticity of the rental property or feel uncomfortable in any way, stop! It is wiser to miss out on a possible rental than to lose money or compromise your personal information.

When you work with a property management company like Intracoastal Realty, you can be confident you are working with a company that will handle your information and funds in a secure and professional manner.

At Intracoastal, our goal is always to ensure our tenants and owners Experience the Exceptional.