How to Tell You’re Being Scammed when you see a real estate ad for a home for rent. You will see these ads in various websites like
Craigslist. If you follow the rules below you will save time and your hard-earned money.
You want to rent a home and have been looking for a few weeks with no luck. You have tried everything even calling a Realtor to help you but to no avail. Then you get a positive email from a Craigslist ad you responded to. Yeah!
But wait they want you to fill out an application. They want all your personal information and email it back to them to see if they will consider you as a possible renter. DON’T DO IT! Thieves have used this trick to get information on people to steal your identity. When you send information with date of birth, addresses, social security numbers, and driver license number to these thieves you have given more than enough information for them to steal your identity.
Another trick is they will take your information and before they steal your identity ask a “good faith deposit” to hold the rental for you. You must send this before they say they will rent to you. DON’T DO IT! No money should be exchanged when applying for a rental other than a credit check fee, which should cost no more than $30. In fact in California the landlord can only charge the actual amount s/he pays for the credit report. Landlord must by statute to refund excess amounts of their credit check fees that are not paid to the credit reporting agency.
A good litmus test to check for scams can be achieved in a couple of ways. First of all if the rent seem low to what other homes – apartments in the area are renting for then this should be seen as a red flag to you. BEWARE! Demanding you pay money before you have personal contact with the landlord. BEWARE! If you see on several websites of the same home – apartment and there’re different contact information. BEWARE! (FYI: Many county assessor provide who owns a particular property by address on their websites. Go and look up who is the owner of record.)
Landlords are not exempt from this scam either. There are cases where landlords receives a rental application form from an out-of-state or from another country indicating they want to rent the property sight unseen. There is a check included with the application for 6 months’ rent, as a deposit. A few days later they get a letter or email back saying their plans have changed and they’re not relocating. They offer to lose 2 months’ rent for any problems they may have caused. The landlord sends back 4 months’ rent because the check cleared his bank. The problem is the check may have not cleared the phony renter’s bank account and the original check bounces for “insignificant funds” and the landlord is out 4 months rents.
No matter if you are looking for a new rental or you have a home for rent be careful out there. Don’t pay or accept money from anyone until you have checked all the facts out first. Don’t be hurried because it will be gone if you don’t act today. You will be happier and you will save money.
It’s is tough enough to find a good tenant and/or a good home to rent now a days. Be cautious and don’t get duped by some unscrupulous thief.
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