Rental scams can take many forms and are sometimes very hard to detect. In this blog, we will outline what rental scams are, what forms of scamming commonly take place, and also prevention and safety measures that you should implement in your house-hunting journey. Finding your dream property should be an enjoyable experience, so knowing how to protect yourself from scams will allow you to protect your money and find the right property.
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What are rental scams?
A rental scam is, essentially, a person posing as a landlord or property manager who advertises either a property that is not in their possession or one that does not exist. This leads to potential tenants and those looking for properties to send this supposed ‘landlord’ money, sometimes in the form of a request for a deposit.
It is not all doom and gloom though. There are many ways to detect this early and protect your hard-earned money.
What types of rental scams happen?
This is a very common type of rental scam and it happens when the supposed landlord puts pictures of real properties online and acts like it is their own. They then ask for payments for the prospective buyer to see the property, but take the money and run.
When looking to rent out a property, buyers have to input sensitive information. These scams are where the person putting up a fake listing takes this information, which may include bank information and withdraws money from their account.
This is when the property owner does not advertise their property honestly and when buyers visit it, it is less desirable. The agent or property owner will then try to pressure you into buying something that was misrepresented.
Credit Card Checks:
This happens when the scammer says that they need your social security number and bank information to do a credit card check. They then take advantage of this information and take money or possibly your identity.
Scammers may ask for a big deposit right away and say that it can be refunded but in reality, it can’t.
These scams can be very easy to fall victim to and can happen very fast. A good rule of thumb is to follow your gut. If you have to send money to anyone and haven’t met with the landlord or real estate agent or have not seen the property, wait things out. Don’t be afraid to decline sending money or giving personal information until you feel comfortable to do so once you’ve met them.
Verify that they actually own the property: This can be done through listing sites that only have verified sellers or through public records of who owns the property.
See the property: Before any payments or sensitive information is passed on, see the property in person to make sure it is what is advertised.
Written contracts: Make sure deposit conditions are in writing so that they can be refunded.
Only necessary info: It is normal for landlords to look at T4s and bank statements, but blurring out your SIN number and other data is recommended.
Verify the landlord: Ensure that the landlord is verified through reputable rental websites before sharing any information.
Document: When you are viewing the property in person, make sure that everything advertised is included. Take pictures and document any concerns you have.
Being careful every step of the way and ensuring that payments are not being sent before meeting or viewing the property is very important. Looking out for these exact things will help you move into your new home with ease! But you don’t have to do this alone. The experienced real estate agents at Zoocasa can help you find a property that fits your needs. Give us a call today to discuss your future home!
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