Beware of Rental Scams
We’ve posted before on tips to avoid and things to look out for in potential rental scams. These scams are also reaching the vacation rental market. Watch a vacation rental victim’s story here. Unfortunately, all kinds of rental scams still do exist in many different places. It is worth repeating the following general guidelines to avoid being a victim in a rental scam:
Avoid any rental listings that require calling an out of area phone number and definitely don’t send money overseas. You’ll always want to see the place first before putting money down. Don’t be swayed by the someone else’s eagerness to have you send money before even signing a lease.
Ask for Details
Any legitimate landlord will surely be able to provide more details whether that be through pictures, a description of the property, surrounding amenities, as well as a whole host of other details. If they can’t provide any information besides the listing that is posted, beware.
Meet in Person
Before securing a lease and putting money down, be sure to visit the property in person and/or meet the landlord or a representative from the management company in person. If you can’t do these things yourself, appoint a family member or friend to do so for you.
Don’t Pay Before Signing or Wire Money…Ever
A legitimate landlord will expect a security deposit upon signing the lease, but beware if they ask for it or any other funds before you’ve signed, met each other or have even seen the property. It is never a good idea to wire money to a stranger because once you send it, you have no way of ever getting it back. In the case of an out of town or overseas rental where you absolutely can not see it before renting it, then paying with a credit card or through a reputable vacation rental website with its own payment system are your safest bets.
For more information on how to spot a rental scam and how to report a rental scam, read the FTC’s Consumer Information on Rental Listing Scams.