There are many more houses for rent scams than there are apartment for rent scams. The major reason for this is most apartments are run by large REITs and property managers. If you are an owner of a rental house and are renting out your property by owner here are some tips to help stop the possibility of having scammers repost your rental property on Craigslist or other sites.
- For photos, use a watermark. Water marked photos have a lower probability of being copied.
- Don’t share your email address within your ad
- Don’t use your personal phone number in ad, use a service that uses a toll free number instead
- Periodically check craigslist and other sites to see if your ad has been copied
For rental scam questions, you can now ask them on the rentbits.com In The Know section. The community will help answer rental scam questions in the effort to help educate the public on the new scams entering the market.
From the MyNewPlace blog:
Local alleged lump of human garbage Rachael Marie Smith has been arrested for using Craigslist to scam potential renters out of their deposits. Ms. Smith advertised her apartment on Craigslist, accepted deposits from several renters and then postponed their move in date, claiming that her mother was sick with cancer.
The scam was uncovered when one woman who signed a lease with Ms. Smith but could then not get in touch with her new’ landlord.’ She mentioned her troubles to a coworker, who, lo and behold, was having the same difficulty with the same woman and had heard the same sob story. The two women hired a lawyer, who also had clients complaining of the same scam and the police were called.
Ms. Smith is accused of stealing a total of $20,000 from at least four renters. Police also think that others may have fallen prey to the hoax and encourage anyone who has been defrauded to call Inspector John Monroe at 415.553.1936.
We collect a lot of data on rental scams and we find there are correlations between rental scams and large cities. A likely explanation of this is because of the substantial amount more renters and traffic that are in these larger cities. For scammers, it is a numbers game. The more renters they can get to respond to the ad, the higher their chances of completing the scam.
Below is a list of the top cities with the highest level of scam activity.
Finding cheap apartments for rent is a major priority for many renters in these hard economic times. Unfortunately, scammers are preying on these types of searchers.
Some tips to ensure you are not being scammed:
1) Is the price to good to be true? Use Rental Rate tools to help.
2) Are they just communicating with you via email? Red flag if they don’t want to talk to you on the phone.
3) Are they asking for a cashiers check? Don’t pay via cashiers check.
4) Have you seen the place and walked around with the Property Manager or owner.