Now that summer is here and the rental activity has increased, so has the amount of rental scams posted on craigslist. We can’t stress enough how important it is for a renter to do their research when looking and applying for a property. Below are some guidelines to follow along with some red flags which may indicate a scam
- Look for pictures that are watermarked in the advertisement. The watermark usually has the company name so it's best practice to get in touch with the company directly to verify the property is in fact, for rent. Once you verify the property is available, then go through the company to apply. Scammers even go as far to say they are helping the said company, so verify they are an employee by going to that company’s website to see if they have staff listed or see if their e-mail matches with the company name.
- When inquiring about a property pay attention to the questions that are asked about you as a renter. The red flag here is if you are asked any discriminatory questions in regards to a protected class.
- Ask to see and read through the entire lease prior to signing or paying anything. In fact, asking for the lease prior to even applying is not a bad idea.
- Be cautious about paying anything even the application fee prior to viewing the property first.
- If the add states they are a private owner- verify the owners name on the county's assessor page. http://www.adacountyassessor.org/propsys/
- Most landlords do some sort of screening, so if you inquire about a place and they offer to let you move in without applying or any type of screening, then it is likely a scam.
- Be cautious when they are pushy with time limits especially with accessing the property through a self showing box. Scammers tend to target the properties with a self showing option.
- Also be aware of those that will only text or e-mail. Do what you can to verify the phone number and attempt to call them.
- Scams usually have spelling, punctuation and grammar errors.
- Last but certainly not least, if it seems too good to be true it probably is.
We know moving can be a stressful but please take the time to do your homework. Taking 30 minutes to research all of the things listed above will be worth it when you save your self thousands of dollars that could end up in the hands of a scammer.