Dissecting a Rental Scam Email

November 18, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 13 Comments

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.

Eliminating Rental Scams Through Economics

November 18, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 1 Comment

Over the last year or so, the rental industry has seen a dramatic rise in rental scams and rental scam complaints.

At,  we do everything in our power to ensure rental scams don’t get sent to our clients or renters. It is virtually impossible to stop every single scam email from getting through our system, but for those that do, we hope through education we will be able to hit the scammers where it hurts the most, through economics.

If we can eliminate the economic incentives for scammers, we can eliminate their behavior completely. If we can educate renters, property managers, owners, and agents on the various rental scams, over time, scammers will no longer have an economic incentive to scam.

There are a variety of tools sites use to help educate consumers and decrease the chances of a scammer contacting a client or renter.

Here are some examples:

  1. Every Phone Number is Masked with a free Toll Free number
    1. One thing you don’t want is to have your cell phone or house number out there for all to see. It is very easy to to do a reverse phone lookup and find your name, address, and any other information these scammers can use against you.
  2. Known Scammer emails and Phone Numbers are Filtered
    1. Being proactive, (stopping scam emails from reaching our clients) and Reactive (Immediately stopping scammer email and phone numbers from reaching any further clients)
    2. Using other proprietary filtering technology
  3. Educational Tools
    1. Every email has a scammer warning attached
    2. We recently launched to help educate and call out scammer email addresses and email content
    3. Who to contact about scam information in account
  4. Screening Ads
    1. Some scammers try to post ads and do a “Property Owner Scam
    2. We Screen ads using a variety of techniques

There is more we as an industry can do to help in the destruction of the rental scammer business model. By working together, we can do much more than working alone.

Some thoughts on how we can work together (I will write more about this in another post). Some suggestions may not work but this is meant to start a conversation:

  1. Central Rental Scammer Database
    1. All rental and classifieds sites could connect to it in real time to post or receive data on known rental scammers.
  2. Help from ISPs and Email providers like Yahoo, AOL, Gmail, etc
    1. Most free email providers are automatically reading the content of the email in order to serve relevant ads. Gmail for example does this and notifies users of known phishing emails. Why couldn’t Google do this with renter scammers? Most scam emails have very similar content.
  3. Government Agency Help
    1. The FTC and the BBB has a lot of information on scammers. Could we use this data?
  4. Combined Rental and Classified Help

    1. What about a cookie being placed on known scammer browsers? If that scammer tries to go to another participating rental or classified site they are flagged.

What you some of your ideas?

How to Avoid Rental Scams (Video)

November 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Sponsor Rental Scam

September 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Posted in Known Rental Scammers, Rental Scams | 18 Comments

We received a letter from a reader notifying us of a scammer who said the have a sponsor. This is how the scam works.

  1. Scammer contacts home owner
  2. Scammer says they will be living in the states for 2 years and that a large company is sponsoring them
  3. Scammer send Fake Cashiers check for a large sum of money.
  4. Scammer asks if home owner can send the remaining money to their sponsor via a wire
  5. Fake cashiers check is not noticed as fake and the home owner wires remaing funds to scammer

The reader contacted this individual and below is the conversation.

Subject: Re: $1295 / 3br – Adorable Single Family Home (Williamstown) (map)
Date: Friday, 19 September, 2008, 2:42 PM

————– Original message ————–
From: natal blige <>

Good day,
I really appreciate your response and details provided, my sponsors (Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals) have agreed on the monthly fees to be paid for the next two years on my behalf. Therefore, they agreed to pay up front the amount of ($3238 PAYMENT FOR THE FIRST MONTH RENT PLUS DEPOSIT STARTING FROM MY MOVING IN DATE WHICH WILL BE ON THE 4TH OF OCTOBER); also since I will be staying for two years, the company has agreed to pay in a monthly installation. Furthermore, I would like you to know a US Cashier che que will be issued to you in an excess amount by my sponsors for the first month rent, security deposit and my travelling expenses; the excess amount will be sent to me immediately as soon as you receive payment from my sponsors.
However, the information below is required from you by my sponsors to have payment sent to you immediately in order for you to hold down this property until I arrive;







Finally, I would like to know how peaceful is the neighbourhood and how close is the property from the bus/train station as I will be leaving on the 3rd and arriving on the 4th of October. My main purpose of relocating is based on my research proposal on Pharmaceutical industries (Financial Analysis); and I was granted a part time sponsorship on my accommodation and travel expense. Also all necessary Paper work will be treated by me when I arrive and set to move into th e property.  

I await the details soonest for payment, so I can start my moving in plans ASAP.


Natal Blige 

— On Tue, 16/9/08, wrote:

Subject: Re: $1295 / 3br – Adorable Single Family Home (Williamstown) (map)
Date: Tuesday, 16 September, 2008, 3:03 PM

the rent is 1295.00 per month and the deposit would be 1 1/2 month security.
is is a very cute house and nice neighborhood.
——- Original message ————–
From: natal blige <>
Good day Sir/ Madam,
My name is Natal Blige; I am 24 years of age and a citizen of the United Kingdom and will be relocating for a short period of two years on a research programme to the United States . As I was reviewing rental adverts, I got particularly interested in your property, I would like you to email me pictures, and I would also like to know the exact fees to be paid monthly and the security deposit in order for me to pass information to my sponsors.
Thanks for your assistance.

7 Warning Signs of Possible Fraud

September 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Tips to Avoid Scams | 1 Comment

Our good friends at has given 7 Warning Signs of Possible Fraud.

  1. Unable to perform a credit check on a prospective tenant, i.e., wrong or no social security number.
  2. Emails are overly polite, very poorly written or express excessive eagerness to rent without having inspected the property.
  3. Tenant does not send funds as promised or delays providing requested information.
  4. Email is sent from another country or the tenant claims to live in one country but email is sent from another with inadequate explanation.
  5. Beware of comments such as, “I need to hear from you today”, “I am arriving next week and need to establish residency” or any indication of extreme urgency early in your communications.
  6. Tenant asks you not to cash a rent or security deposit check, or asks you to purchase items or contract services on his behalf.
  7. Finally, never provide your bank account number, bank routing number or other financial or personal information.

The Who Rental Scam

September 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm | Posted in Rental Scams | 6 Comments

The Scammers are using the WHO (World Health Organization) to scam out renters. Read more on this scam and how it plays on emotions here.

Below is the email from the scammer,


Good hearing from you am Dr Eric Neville,the Leaders of (WHO) world health organisation appointed by the World Health Assembly on 9 November 2006..

We own the House and also want you to know that it was due to our transfer that makes me and my family to leave the property and was post on to give it out for rent. We are looking for a reputable person that can take very good care of it, as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean at the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own.

We are a Multi-Million Organisation authorized by the UNICEF AND UNITED NATION HEALTH GROUPS. Our work is to travel around the world, we supply food, drugs, and shelter to the poor,our organisation is known worldwide due to our good work and faith. we want to know if you also have love for the sick and poor around the world.We are in conjuction with Susan Collins the Senator of United state of America.

So right now we are in West Africa. with the keys and the document of the House. We try to look for an agent that we can give the keys and documents before we left but could not see any trusted and responsible agent and the only person that we trust was dead last year on plane crash,so we have nobody that can give the keys and documents before we left and we are as well don’t want our house to be used anyhow in our absent that is why we took it along with us. You can drive by to view it from outside at 11761 Via Vera Cruz Ct Las Vegas, NV 89138.

So get back to us on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home.please let us know If you are staying for a long period of time, We are okay with one month deposit payment of ($1,250) including the security deposit,looking forward to hear from you.Our rental form has been attached to you that you will have to fill to qualify for this rent.

Looking forward to hear from you with all the application details so that i can have it in my file incase of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.

Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how the keys and documents would be ship to you via Fedex company.

Thanks Remain Bless

The Money Order Rental Scam

September 13, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Rental Scams | 5 Comments

Scammers will try to make the victim feel as comfortable as possible. Here is one way they do it.

  1. Scammer posts rental ad on a large free classifieds site and makes rental price extremely low
  2. The victim finds the ad and wants to rent the property
  3. Communication between the scammer and victim begins
  4. Scammer tells victim he is out of the country on business
  5. To ensure the victim has funds. the scammer asks the victim to wire money ($2,000) to any of the victims friends. This is suppose to make the victim feel better because they are wiring it to their own friend
  6. The scammer asks to see the receipt that funds have been transfered to the victims friend through MoneyGram
  7. With Money orders, the recipient can pick up the funds anywhere in the world. With the information on the receipt, the scammer picks up the money.

Houston area Rental Scams

November 29, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Rental Scams, Tips to Avoid Scams | Leave a comment

There has been an uptick in rental scams specifically within the Houston area. With the higher rental prices, this makes it a hotbed for rental scammers. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for rental rates on homes that are significantly lower than market value.



What is

November 18, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Posted in Rental Scams | 4 Comments

Our mission is to educate renters, property managers, agents and owners on the many different types of rental scams that are on the internet today.

The only way to defeat scammers is by eliminating their economic incentives to continue scamming. We feel, through education, we can accomplish this goal.

Next Page »

Create a website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.