As long as there’s been commerce in this world, there’s been scammers. Unfortunately all the information and technology we have today doesn’t keep them from doing their nefarious deeds. One such scam in the real estate world, is the rental property scam. Every day there are unsuspecting people falling prey to these unthinkable acts.
Here are some tips on spotting these scams and how to avoid them.
Know what to look for. Typically these scammers will post pictures of rental properties on various real estate and classified ad sites. Most of the time these pictures are copied from existing listings or pictures they’ve taken of property they don’t own. One red flag is the rental price listed. It is usually a very low price that seems too good to be true. This tactic will bring in a lot of interest. This is critical as their scheme is based on volume. Not everyone is going to bite, so they need high volume.
Does the ad contain broken English or poor grammar? If so, this is another potential sign that the listing is fake. Many of these ads are listed by people overseas who aren’t fluent in English.
Payment Requirements. Once the scam artists have you hooked they then require you to send them money as a deposit. They may claim the deposit is for “first month’s rent” or there are so many people looking they have to “weed out the lookers from the buyers”. Whatever the excuse, once they have your money you will most certainly never hear from them again or see your money.
This is how to avoid such scams. First of all, never ever send money to anyone you’ve never met in person. Especially, when they are asking you to wire it via Western Union. This is the preferred money transfer method for these scammers. Secondly, never agree to anything without first seeing the property for yourself. These people don’t own the property, so they can’t show it to you. If you ask to see the property and they come up with an excuse such as being out of town on business, or tied up in a project, etc. – you have to start worrying about this not being real. Lastly, do a little research to confirm your suspicions. Often times others have already reported these scams and a search on the address, e-mail address, name of company, etc. can turn up the smoking gun that you need.
If you believe that you’ve been a victim of one of these scams you should immediately contact the FTC (1-888-FTC-HELP) as well as the website where the listing was found.
If you are looking for trusted advice on property listings, feel free to contact us Exit Realty Bob Lamb & Associates.
EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates is Murfreesboro’s most innovative real estate team.
EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates
2630 Memorial Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN 37129