How to avoid rental scams

Posted at 1:26 PM, Aug 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-11 14:26:42-04

If you are using a rental app or website to search for an apartment, watch out. If you are not careful, you could get taken by a scam.

There are a number of good apps and websites to help you with your search. But, even though these apps and sites may be reputable, scammers have also been known to post ads to trick people into sending money or releasing personal information.

Here are some telltale signs of a rental scam:

The ad seems too good to be true with promises of a great location, lots of amenities and a lower than expected rental price.

The landlord will only communicate via chat or e-mail.

Prior to viewing the property, you are asked to pay a large deposit, provide banking information, pictures of yourself and family members, or other personal information.

And, you are not allowed to view the property in person, often because the landlord claims he is out of the country.

To avoid falling victim, do not provide personal information nor pay a deposit until you have viewed the property in person. Also take measures to verify that the person offering the rental is the legitimate owner or manager of the property. And, do not rent a property without getting a signed lease.

If you suspect a scam, report it to law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission and the app or website so that the ad can be taken down.