Rental scams are on the rise, and the last thing that you want is to fall victim to one when you’re searching for a place to live. Here are the warning signs to watch for and how to take precautions and protect yourself:
What Does a Rental Scam Look Like?
A prime example of a rental scam is showcasing a property for rent that doesn’t actually exist. While rental scams will vary, oftentimes the potential landlord will claim to live internationally or might present a heartfelt story as to why they’re out of the country (e.g. sick or dying family). The property will look legitimate online with photos and all of the usual details on the rental. This type of scam often happens with vacation rentals, as you won’t be in the area to know if it actually exists or not.
In some cases, the renter will suggest a “convenient way” to pay the deposit in order to secure the rental. One of the most common ways that these scammers ask you to pay deposits is via Western Union because it is quick and easy. We advise that you avoid this at all costs, as once the money is sent via this method, it’s gone with no way to trace it. This can mean that you’ll have lost your deposit money and will also have no place to live.
Top 3 Tips To Avoid Rental Scams
When renting, here are our best tips to avoid scams:
- Ask for a copy of their rental property’s insurance (it will list the owners and their home address).
- Avoid Western Union, Moneygram, and Ria. They are all great systems, but they are more susceptible to scams if you are unsure of the recipient.
- Avoid email transfers. As with the systems above, once your money has been sent, it’s gone.
If you suspect a rental scam, report it to your local authorities as soon as possible. For help sending a payment for an international rental or vacation spot, contact our team today! We’d be happy to help.