What are rental listing scams? How to protect your property in 2024

Are you planning on renting your home but you’re concerned about rental listing scams? If so, you’re not alone.

Rental listing scams continue to get more sophisticated each year thanks to how easy it is for scammers to use the internet to share tips and the tools of their trade.

Thankfully, you can protect yourself from rental listing scams if you follow these tips:

rental properties

How To Protect Yourself From Rental Listing Scams

Rental listing scams are deceptive schemes in which fraudsters post fake rental listings with the intention of tricking people into sending them money or personal information. These scams often target individuals searching for apartments, houses, or other rental properties online. Here are some common types of rental listing scams:

  1. Fake Listings: Scammers create fake rental listings for properties that don’t actually exist or are not available for rent. They may use photos and descriptions stolen from legitimate listings.
  2. Too-Good-to-Be-True Deals: Scammers lure potential renters with extremely attractive rental prices that are well below the market rate to entice victims into making hasty decisions without thorough research.
  3. Bait and Switch: Fraudsters may advertise a desirable property at a low price, but when a potential renter contacts them, they claim that the property is no longer available and try to steer the person toward a different (usually more expensive or lower-quality) property.
  4. Remote Landlord Scams: Scammers pretend to be landlords who are currently out of the country and ask potential renters to send money as a deposit without seeing the property in person. They often use fake reasons, such as military deployment or missionary work, to explain their absence.
  5. Phishing for Personal Information: Some scams involve collecting personal information from renters, such as Social Security numbers or bank account details, under the guise of conducting background checks or securing the rental.
  6. Wire Transfer Requests: Scammers often request payment via wire transfer, which is difficult to trace and can be irreversible. Legitimate landlords typically use more secure and traceable payment methods.

To avoid falling victim to rental listing scams, consider the following precautions:

  • Deal Locally: Whenever possible, deal with local landlords or property management companies and inspect the property in person before making any payments.
  • Research the Listing: Verify the legitimacy of the rental listing by doing an online search, checking multiple sources, and comparing the information provided. Be skeptical of listings that lack specific details or have poor grammar and spelling.
  • Avoid Upfront Payments: Be cautious if asked to pay upfront fees or deposits before seeing the property. Legitimate landlords typically arrange for in-person meetings and property viewings.
  • Use Secure Payment Methods: Use secure and traceable payment methods, such as credit cards or payment platforms with fraud protection, rather than wire transfers.
  • Trust Your Instincts: If something seems too good to be true or if you feel pressured to make quick decisions, take a step back and reconsider. Trust your instincts and conduct thorough research before proceeding.

By staying vigilant and following these precautions, individuals can reduce the risk of falling victim to rental listing scams.

Hiring a property manager is the best way to avoid scams because an experienced manager can save you the hassle and heartache of getting scammed.

To learn more about the property management services that we can offer you, contact us today by clicking here.


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