More people move in late summer due to school or other factors like the weather. Scammers exploit this by running more rental property schemes, but it's also important to be on guard year-round.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 22, 2013
Scambook, the Internet's leading complaint resolution platform, is warning consumers to watch out for apartment rental scams. August is a popular month for moving and scammers are taking advantage of this with false listings, security deposit fraud and other rental property scams. Online listing services such as Craigslist have made it easier for scammers to perpetrate this fraud.
"More people move in late summer due to school or other factors like the weather," said Kase Chong, Scambook's Director of Marketing. "Scammers exploit this by running more rental property schemes, but it's also important to be on guard year-round. Anyone can fall victim to an apartment scam if they're not careful."
There are primarily two types of rental scams with multiple variations of each scam.
In the first type, the scammer lists a property for rent online for property they don't own. The address of a real vacancy may be used or they invent one and steal photos from other listings. The scammer tells prospective renters that they're out of the country or otherwise unavailable, so they offer to speed up the application process by sending the keys after the inquiring renter sends a deposit via wire transfer.
The second type of rental scam targets landlords or property owners renting a spare bedroom. The scammer poses as a prospective tenant and may even visit the property and submit an application. However, the application fee or security deposit is paid with a money order or cashier's check for more than the landlord's asking price, so they can request the landlord cash it and send the extra amount to another address. These money orders or cashier's checks inevitably prove counterfeit, leaving the property owner responsible.
To avoid falling for an apartment rental scam, Scambook advises the following consumer safety tips:
1. If it's too good to be true, it's likely to be a scam. Be on guard for rent that seems too low or a landlord who offers to give the keys without meeting renters or going through a formal application process.
2. Never wire money for application fees or security deposits. Although it is common that property managers require cashier's checks for a security deposit and first month's rent, this will not occur until the prospective renter has submitted an application and credit check.
3. If the other party is pressuring you, it's a red flag. Whether consumers are a prospective tenant or renting their own property, do not let the third parties engage in bullying tactics. If they do not allow proper time to review the fine print on agreements or otherwise rush the transaction, consider it a warning sign of a scam.
4. Review the property, lease agreement and other documents very carefully. Don't skip over the fine print. If consumers don't understand something, ask the other party to clarify. Examine the property itself for any damage or other problems that the landlord would be required to disclose. Make sure that all questions are answered to complete satisfaction.
For more information and updates on the latest scams and fraud, consumers can visit http://www.scambook.com/blog
Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages. For more information, visit scambook.com.