Have you run across a really great deal on a rental property, one that has everything you’re looking for and is well under your budget? Well, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, to use the common phrase. Rental scamming has become a major problem in the modern world, as the internet makes it easy for scammers to advertise, collect, and disappear, with no intention of ever making good on their promises. Watch for these warning signs before making any plans or agreements.
First, always be cautious when searching online for properties. This seems like an obvious thing, but scams can be carefully hidden and well laid out to get your money and leave you out of luck. Without being able to see the person you’re dealing with and have documentation on the process, it’s easy for fake landlords to get your information and take off.
That being said, never, ever wire money to anyone you have not met. A common scam has these traits: someone responds to your interest in a property and tells you they are overseas for business, volunteer work, or the like, and they ask for your personal information and a money order. This is a huge red flag. In short, don’t do it! It’s most likely a way to get your money, and the property is probably still occupied or for rent under an actual real estate agent or landlord.
Next, pay attention to the wording of advertisements and the corresponding photographs of the property. If the language is very formal, or is very, very informal, you may be looking at someone trying too hard to make a real thing. Check out the descriptions of the property and see if they match the photographs that are included. And, if there aren’t any photos, that’s another clue that it might not be legitimate.
Also look at the price of the property in comparison to other, similar properties. Is the price exceptionally lower than properties like it? Are there amenities, furnishings, and other elements that don’t fit in with the price? Take this into consideration as you research. Again, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.