Looking to Rent? Five Questions to Ask to Avoid a Scam

FAST FACT: First and last month’s rent, plus deposit, is a significant chunk of cash. Scammers know it, and have mastered the art of stealing it.

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It’s tough enough to find an affordable rental in today’s tight market, so when you see that oh-it-looks-perfect place for an even more perfect price, take a closer look. It could be a scam. To avoid being a victim, ask yourself these 5 questions.

  • Does the landlord or agent say they’re unable to meet you at the property?
    Scammers often say they’re out of the country, on a mission, etc. Instead they’ll send pictures and offer to send keys if you send payment. The keys won’t let you in.
  • Are they rushing you?
    Scammers try to rush you into sending them money before you have time to sense something’s not right. So don’t let anyone rush you into anything — especially if they want the money wired.
  • Do they make a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes?
    Many scams are operated from other countries.
  • Does the house seem staged like it’s for sale?
    Scammers often break into unoccupied homes on the market. When you arrive, they’re already in the house.
  • Is the price a little too good?
    To create a deal you simply can’t refuse, scammers often price rentals under the market rate. If a rental sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Your local REALTORS® are always on the look out, protecting you from rental scammers. And working with a REALTOR® is one way you can protect yourself.  To find a REALTOR in Eastern Connecticut, go to www.easternctrealtors.com.

If you do come across an online rental scammer, you can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Center.