Avoiding Scams When Renting

Published on Oct 10, 2013 06:00 am

Few things convey a sense of safety and security more than a place to call home. Don’t let the emotions involved in finding home leave you vulnerable to rental scams. If you’re in the process of looking for a place to rent, be alert for rental scams and protect yourself from identity theft at all possible turns.

Here are signs that you might be looking at a rental scam:

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Home owners and leasing agents are too savvy to leave money on the table. If the asking price is a fraction of the going rate, you’re dealing with a scammer.

The ad lacks really important information. On occasion, you’ll come across an ad for a listing that lacks critical information – such as the exact street address, cross street, or even adequate photos. Many Internet-based scams originate overseas and the scammers may not have access to enough information to advertise convincingly.

Keys will be sent upon receipt of down payment. Which of these things is more brow-raising? That you are being asked to commit to a property before you have seen it or the fact that the ‘landlord’ is offering a great home to someone he or she hasn’t met?

Once you’ve found some legitimate options, proceed with caution. To protect your identity during the renting process, avoid on-line pre-approval forms and only provide personally identifying information (full name, address, SSN, DOB, etc.) to a prospective landlord who you’ve met in person after you’ve seen the property and decided that you want it.

Protecting yourself during the rental process goes beyond safeguarding your Social Security Number. Pursue all leads with caution. It’s one thing to waste some time. It’s another to lose money or parts of your identity along the way.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.  © 2013 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc.  All rights reserved.

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