How to Tell if a Rental is Legitimate

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With the proliferation of free and paid rental sites, more and more rental scams are hitting the market. If you are a renter, how can you protect yourself from falling for a rental scam?

How to Tell if a Rental is Legitimate

During the summer months, the scammers come out swinging so be aware. According to Google Trends, the term Rental Scams has seen a significant spike in traffic recently.

Below are some renter tips to help avoid rental scams.

  1. Avoid working with anyone who will not meet you in person to see the property.
  2. Be aware of the following things when contacting them via email
    1. Improper English
    2. They say they are traveling abroad and can’t show you the property but can send you keys.
    3. They use God Bless, Reverend, Doctor, UK, Cashiers Check, Money Order in the email.
  3. If it is too good to be true, it probably is. Be careful when you see a rental that is way under market rate.
  4. Look up the address online. If pictures are pulled from a For Sale property or you see the property is advertised elsewhere for market rate, the one you are interested in may be a scam.
  5. They won’t talk to you over the phone.
  6. Search their email address online and see if anything fishy comes up.

Be careful out there, the last thing you want is to fall for one of these rental scams and be out a few thousand dollars.

If you think you have been scammed, you can contact the FTC and file a complaint with them. Unfortunately, many times these scammers are outside of the US and it is very difficult to get your money back. To help this from happening to anyone else, you should also flag the property and have the rental search site take the listing off.