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Rental Scams: What to Spot and What to Do

Posted by on Friday, February 24th, 2023 in Blogs

With COVID-19 fading into the background, scammers see an opportunity to prey upon unsuspecting people. Rental scams have been on the rise in the past few years due to COVID related confusion that obscures financial forethought leading people to become desperate in the face of uncertainty. In 2018, 5.2 Million American renters have lost money due to a rental scam; additionally, in 2020, the rate of which of these scams have claimed victims has risen up 30% or so. It is important to be aware of these types of scams and how to spot them.


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What to Look For

The problem has become so prevalent that even the FTC has been addressing the issue. The majority of these kinds of scams are posted on rental websites like Opendoor, Craigslist, or Zillow.

The scammer will pretend to be the landlord, owner, or agent of the property. Usually the property itself may not even be involved and fake pictures may be posted to make the scam seem legit. Other times, the scammer may hijack or spoof an ad on one of these websites, but change the contact information. Then the scammer will try to stay in contact with the victim until money is exchanged. Here are a few things the scammer might do and signs to watch out for:

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What to Do

When you come across a potential scam, it’s important to spend the extra time to investigate the ad listing or rental property. A little five minute investigation can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars, so it doesn’t hurt to investigate!

It all comes down to taking the time to investigate a listing or rental before exchanging any form of money. A little bit of time and research will save you money in the long run by avoiding these rental scams. If you are a victim of a rental scam, you can submit a complaint to the FBI or your local authorities.  

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at 877-212-2450!

We also invite you to click on the following link to Interest: Look Out for Identity Theft: Tips and Tricks

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