LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – In the world of using the internet today, there are lots of scammers looking to get a hold of your personal identity, credit card information, or even your personal phone number. As you are scrolling through what seems to be an endless amount of properties through different sites, and whether you are a firm believer in Craigslist or not, there are countless alarming things to look out for when dealing with a scammer. Here are a few ways to avoid giving out your information to the wrong person:

The rental is at a profusely low price

When it comes down to the price, it usually is a large indication when the rental is way below the average rental price in that area. And you might be wondering, what the average rental prices are in the market today. And really it depends on what area you are looking, the number of rooms and bathrooms, and space. Also, when a landlord remodels or renovates, or the place offers amenities, the price will be a lot higher to comparable apartments in that area.

Landlord claims he or she is “Out of Town” on a business trip or moved away

First off, I want to say that this is a trick that many scammers are pulling today. Claiming they are “out of town” that when you send them a deposit, they will send you the keys. It is a known fact to always, always, always set-up a meet-and-greet and makes sure you meet the landlord face-to-face. This way you can check out the property, the area, and see whether or not you see yourself living there.

When it is too good to be true, it usually is

Sometimes it is understandable the landlord does not post photos because the apartment is not yet available. However, it does not hurt to ask. Another thing to really watch for is to really see the pictures that are posted, and when the pixels are way off, or it looks almost like they stole the photo from a website, it usually sets off alarm bells. That is another good reason asking for more photos really helps avoid running into these scammers tricks.

The exact location is unknown

Knowing the property address is vital when looking for property to live in. So when the landlord is unable to give you that information, or the exact address, that sends up some red flags.

Credit check scam

Sometimes when the landlord insists that your credit score doesn’t matter and go to this site to get your credit check, they are in actuality working for the credit score company and generating leads. Therefore, do not rent or send any information until you have seen the actual property and met with the landlord. These listings are also unusual for the area, as a “condo” or a “cottage” and they use neighborhood names that do not actually exist.

Automated E-mail reply

Also, from my own personal experience, I had noticed that the E-mail sent back usually happens immediately, and is at times is an automated E-mail reply. It comes from a personal E-mail that is usually associated with a fake name.

Also, do your own research. Copying and pasting the E-mail into the Google search bar to find that person’s name is either from a deceased person or that E-mail simply does not exist, also raises red flags. And another common trait I find is that they use words such as “I” and have it written as “i”, not using proper capitalization.


Put your guard up against identity theft

Identity theft happens more often, and with the internet being an easy access to your personal information to make sure you guard your information. Most of the scammers inform you that others are interested in the property, and you must “act fast”. You’ll be asked to fill out an application before you see the property. This phony application that they send you will ask for your private information and your social security number. You will experience months of turmoil to try and undo the damage of identity theft, do your best to not get caught up in this and never give out your personal information. Landlords will sometimes ask for a valid photo ID before showing the property, but that is usually the limit of prying for information before a rental agreement is signed.

Rental tips

  1. Always make sure the person renting out the place is the actual owner or the property manager. A simple search will go a long way. Looking it up on city records or by calling the building’s manager and ask if there is an apartment for rent and who the person is in charge of renting it.
  2. Do your research before you give someone money. Check out the listing in your area to see comps. Also look into whether the place is actually for rent.
  3. Here is an example of what I got a reply back in my e-mail, when I was browsing for an apartment:

Thanks for your inquiry about my apartment.congratulation the apartment is available.Beds, Bath,,Furnished with TV,DVD player,A/C -Heater, FREE high speed wireless Internet, iron, Full kitchen Microwave, coffee maker, toaster, flatware, dishwasher, pots/pans, Lovely bedroom with bed linens provided , towels, shampoo, soap, etc and also Laundry is in the basement, so you won’t have to leave the building at all.. .

To book this apartment, you will have to pay an up-front payment of 1 month which is $1200 plus a refundable fee of security damage deposit of $300 which altogether is $1500…The balance of the rent will be paid on your arrival date. The security damage deposit will be refunded to you on your departure date when the housekeeper has checked the apartment and ensured you didn’t damage the property.

But before then you have to fill an agreement and booking form which you must read carefully and follow all the instruction given on the form. do let me know when to send the booking form so we could proceed with the booking and reservation of the apartment and payment.

You will get the full set of keys to the apartment and nobody will be sharing the apartment with you.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks

Some red flags you can see in this ad: The “landlord” does not share the address, the $300 deposit and the ad sound too good to be true. Also, the reply back looked like they copied and pasted into the e-mail itself.

 

  1. Always make sure to ask what extra fees you will be paying. It is your job to make sure you can handle any of the extra fees, such as utility bills, and /trash so always ask to make sure, because landlords tack on extra fees that are not even mentioned in the ad.
  2. Never give away your personal information. Be very cautious of making sure you see the apartment and meeting the landlord or apartment manager before you fill out a rental application.
  3. Do not pay before seeing the property itself firsthand. These scammers are only interested in getting that deposit first thing and will want you to pay before sending your keys. Trust your gut, and let them know you will hold the deposit until after you see the apartment first.

https://www.rentjungle.com/average-rent-in-los-angeles-rent-trends/

https://consumerist.com/2013/02/27/5-warning-signs-that-a-craigslist-rental-listing-is-probably-a-scam/

https://www.millennialpersonalfinance.com/avoid-craigslist-rental-scams/