Protect Yourself: Tips To Avoid Scam Rental Listings
- Ask the property owner for refferals. Ask for at least 3.
- If they are a member of a home association, contact the association to make sure it is legitimate.
- Ask for the name of the company that does the maintenance and then contact the maintenance company to make sure they exist.
- Make sure you have a rental agreement in place before you send them any money.
- Your best protection can come by working with property owners that accept credit cards. First, there are certain protections that the banks put in place, and not everyone qualifies to accept credit cards. Secondly, using your credit card does provide you with certain remedies that are unavailable via other forms of payment. Note: Paying via PayPal may not provide you the same level of protection that paying directly via credit card provides. Avoid listings that demand quick payment via a wire service like Western Union or bank transfer.
- Discuss details of the property by phone in addition to email or online so you speak with the person selling or renting the property.
- Ask for the properties exact location.
- Be more cautious of sellers using free email accounts as these can be used by overseas scam-artists and then discarded as they are reported; Notice poor grammar, lack of knowledge of local geography, incorrect location names, made-up or incorrectly formatted names, and numerically- or otherwise-generated throw-away email addresses as easy but usually correct indications of a scam attempt.
- Use extreme caution when buying/renting a property located a long distance from your location. Since this website is available to people around the world, we allow homes and properties to be listed from around the world. However, buying or renting a home that is located a great distance from you increases the risk to you exponentially. It is never a good idea to buy a home without viewing it in person before any money changes hands.
- After discussing the details, have the home or rental property surveyed before any money changes hands. View the property in person, or try to have a trusted friend view the property on your behalf.
- Avoid scams where a seller wants you to pay or overpay any third party where part of the payment will then be rebated to the seller - this would almost always represent a scam.
- Use common sense and your gut instinct - if you think even for a second that something is up, investigate it further.
- Use Google to search the user's email address, name or website to see if anyone on the net has written anything in the past about this person. You can even use some of the text they send you from their ads or email - some scammers just reuse all their text so you may find someone has already put it on the web and pointed it out as a scam. To do exact matches in google put your keywords inside some quote marks.
Example Exact Match Search: