Testing Rental Scams Via Rental Rates

December 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 1 Comment

One of the strategies of rental scammers is to price the ‘fake’ rental below the average rental rate in a specific market. This allows the scammers to receive as many emails or inquiries as possible.

One way to see if a rental is too good to be true is to look at average rental rates for like properties within that area. rentBits has a rental rates tool that currently offers rental rates for over 4,000 cities in the US.

For example, if you see an ad on Craigslist for a two bedroom home for rent in Phoenix for $400 / mo. You can go to rentBits.com and see that the average rental rates in phoenix are $786. For a 2 bedroom home in Phoenix, the current rental rate is $787 / Mo.

Online Tool To Help Tenants Avoid Rental Scams

September 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | Leave a comment
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According to RealEstateConsumerNews, there is a new online tool that helps tenants avoid rental scams.

I checked out the rental scam detection quiz and was impressed.  It takes just a few minutes to answer the 9 questions the quiz presents and it then gives you what it has calculated of the chances of the rental you are looking at as being a scam.  Based on the knowledge I have obtained from researching rental scams for blogs, I found the questions in this quiz to make a lot of sense and be very relevant.  In addition, I found the explanations the quiz gives for each question to be very informative.  I would highly recommend that you use this tool before handing your deposit money to a landlord or property manager.

    FBI Releases Rental Scam Consumer Alert

    August 14, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 1 Comment
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    The FBI has recently released an alert warning renters and property managers of rental scams for homes for rent searching and advertising. In the article they offer suggestions to avoid being victimized:

    How to avoid being victimized:

    • Only deal with landlords or renters who are local;
    • Be suspicious if you’re asked to only use a wire transfer service;
    • Beware of e-mail correspondence from the “landlord” that’s written in poor or broken English;
    • Research the average rental rates in that area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower;
    • Don’t give out personal information, like social security, bank account, or credit card numbers.

    David A. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Columbia office of the FBI, is requesting that individuals who have complaints should file an Internet crime complaint on www.ic3.gov with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    AARP Rental Scam Alert

    November 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | Leave a comment
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    The AARP has an article on rental scams. 

    AARP tips:

    How can you avoid being that bird? If you know what to look for, fraud can be easy to spot—the Rev. Harrison’s poor grammar and spelling, implausible missionary story from Nigeria and request for wire transfers gave him away. Asking for money upfront or for personal information are big red flags, too. Craigslist.com, a website that carries classified ads, advises doing business only with “local folks” to steer clear of scam attempts.

    If you see a suspicious ad, alert the Web administrators (many sites have buttons that allow you to “flag” suspicious ads). If your home is being used as scam bait, tell the website to remove the ad. Then file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, atwww.ic3.gov/faq, sponsored by the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.#mce_temp_url#

    Dissecting a Rental Scam Email

    October 15, 2008 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 10 Comments
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    There are commonalities with all rental scam emails. Below are some tips when dissecting a rental scam email.

    1. Does the email start out with Sir / Madam?
    2. Are there misspellings in the email?
    3. Are there character mistakes in the email? i.e Hello,my nameis Susie.
    4. Is there excessive capitalization?
    5. Does the email reference God, UK, Cashiers Check, Doctor, Nigeria, Reverend, etc.
    6. Is the email from a free email provider. i.e gmail, yahoo, aol, hotmail.
    7. Does the email refer to another person or agent?
    8. Does the email reference wanting to move in site unseen?

    If the email has a majority of these commonalities, then the chances are very good it is a scammer. If you are unsure, it is best to not reply to the email.

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