Scammers Galore: What to look out for while searching the internet for rental property

By Josh Kattenberg

Scammers GaloreWhen a person creates a scam online they build off of two main human ingredients. GREED and FEAR

The scammer creates an ad containing quality information (often information they took from another ad) and everything looks correct accept for the pricing. Depending on the size and price tag of the property they will price it $100-500 cheaper than anything else online. Someone who has been looking for a while gets hit with the greedy bug and says “Wow that is a good deal! I better grab it!” They want to hurry through the process because they fear someone else will find this ‘deal’ and it will be gone!

Save your time and money
Scammers are looking for a couple things.
First they are looking for quick cash.
Last week I had a client call and she had sent $1200 in a cashier’s check to a scammer. He had promised to send keys and a lease. When she did not receive the items she visited the property to find she had been scammed.

The second thing scammers are looking for is identity. They will ask for a phone number first. If they can get you on the phone they will have better luck getting you to respond in their favor. Also, they will be looking for addresses, credit card and bank info, birth dates and social security numbers. Once they have your information they will either use it personally to gain access to your accounts or sell it on the identity black market where it will be used by people around the globe. Cleaning up the mess after an identity attack can be very costly and time consuming.

A few weeks ago I had a client call that had been scammed and within 8 hours of her giving out too much personal information her bank account had been hit 4 times.

What to look for
Most scams will jump off the page when you know what you are looking for. The supposed ‘seller’ often claims to be ‘over seas’ or ‘out of the country’ this is a convenient excuse so they do not have to meet you. They will often use convincing or comforting words and phrases and use psychological triggers that get an automatic response from you without you realizing it. The latest trend is to tell the potential tenant that they had a falling out with their property manager. This way if you find the property listed for more money you will distrust the manager instead of the scammer.

Protect your family from scams
How do you protect yourself and those you love from this happening?

1.    Buy locally. If you are looking for a home to rent, visit a local licensed property manager who will help you though the entire process.

2.    The old proverb ‘If it seems too good to be true it probably is’ Holds truth with internet shopping.

3.    Do not give out personal information to anyone without first verifying they are a legitimate business. Doing a quick online search can be very effective for this.

4.    The single most important factor in avoiding fraud is this: Learn to trust the feeling in the pit of your stomach. Often people tell me “it just didn’t feel right” follow your instincts. – See more at: