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With the rental industry continuing to grow, unfortunately the number of rental scams increase as well. With the prolific amount of electronic media available to anyone with access to a computer and the ability to remain anonymous, the rental scams are numerous. To safeguard yourself, it is important to become aware that unfortunately there are phonies out there and familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts so you don’t fall victim to a scam.
Rental scammers often seek their victims through email and by posting rental listings on sites such as Craigslist. Red flags alerting you to scams in rental listing postings and emails often include the following: misspellings, grammatical errors, rent that sounds too good/too low to be true, calls to immediate action, requests to wire money and solicitation of personal information including bank account information, social security numbers or credit card numbers. Some will even reference God, Reverend, Nigeria, UK, etc. Not all times, but often scammers will have an email from a free provider (gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.). They often want to rent/move-in a place site unseen and try to create a huge sense of urgency.
Remember never to give out account information especially when solicited by an email, be suspicious if the person only wants to work with wired funds and if the deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
For detailed information, an explanation of existing scams and how to avoid them, or for help on who to contact if you have been a victim of a rental scam or fraud, please visit www.rentalscams.org.