You may have heard of some of the scams out there that have left lots of honest people out thousands of dollars instead of in a home of their dreams. Some recent tenant deposit taking schemes, mainly from predators using websites like Craigslist (which is a very legitimate website to find great rental houses) have made it into the news and has many would tenants nervous about whether or not the house they’re looking at is also a “scam”.
How to Avoid Scams That Are Out There
There has been an increase in scams that are out to fleece either potential tenants. Several forms of scams exist that have come out in recent years.
There are those scammers who take advantage of popular property buying and selling websites to scam potential tenants, especially foreigners.
They create counterfeit websites of the popular sites and put up enticing advertisements. Once a person falls for them, a series of email communication flows and the tenant makes a deposit, and that is it – once that deposit money is sent over to the scammer… it’s nearly impossible to track down who did it or how to get the money back.
The biggest scam that is out there for potential renters is described below.
Taking Deposits On A House They Don’t Own… Then Disappearing Into The Night
Some scammers are getting really smart about how they intend to part you with your hard earned money.
The biggest one today is where a scammer finds vacant properties where the owner of the house lives out of the area…
… they break into the house, take pictures, then they upload those pictures and a “for rent” listing on websites like Craigslist.
The listing looks legitimate… so you go and look at it… maybe even meet the scammer face to face… they tell you there are other people looking to rent the house as well so you better put a deposit on it today… so you do.
What you don’t know is that that scammer had a whole slew of other potential renters visit the same house that day and put a deposit on the house as well.
The scammer then takes the deposits… cashes the checks… and disappears.
A version of this scam also can happen where you don’t even see the house and the scammer tells you that you may want to put a deposit on the house asap because there are others interested. So you do, even before you see the property in person, and your money is gone forever.
Ok, so you know there are scammers out there.
Now… how do you avoid being a victim to a scam and how do you protect yourself during the process?
First off… verify that the person / company you’re dealing with is legitimate.
Our company, Swift Results, Inc., is registered with the state of CO which you can verify online… and you can find our company listed on many online business directories where it’ll show all of our contact information. If you’re working with an individual (a person, not a company)… when you see the “owner”… if you feel anything is off at all… don’t be afraid to ask to see their drivers license for proof of their name and address… and write down their license plate number of their car before you leave.
Verify the identity and contact info of the person or company marketing the property so you know they’re honest and legitimate.
Never give a cash deposit… and never hand a deposit check over without a contract in hand to a person you’ve verified is legitimate.
Don’t ever feel pressured to put a deposit down “today!” if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Trust your gut.
Search the address of the property online and see if you can find the name of the owner on record. If that doesn’t match up with the person you’re working with… ask that person for proof of their identity and ability to rent the house to you.
As a last resort, if you ever don’t feel right about it… just leave. There will always be more houses that will come around.
A quick rundown for you…
In conclusion, it is up to you to be diligent enough to avoid being scammed. They say when the deal is too sweet, think twice. Don’t rush into sealing deals before giving them a second thought
Hopefully these tips will help you avoid rental home scams in Colorado Springs and arm you with a new sense of confidence when you’re out there looking for your next house!
If you want to work with a local company that has established an outstanding reputation in the area, check out our website, www.coloradospringshousesforrent.com, and see what homes we currently have available for rent. If you find a home you are interested in, review our prospective tenant requirements before proceeding. If you feel you qualify, fill out our application online. Our automated screening process will then take over, and if you meet our tenant requirements, you’re ready to go to the next step.
We hope you found this information helpful. Good luck with finding your next home.