BBB Offer Tips To Avoid Rental Scams

  
     
Avoid Scams When Looking to Rent, Says The Better Business Bureau
April 04, 2014

CHICAGO,IL – April 3, 2014 – In today’s market, fewer people are buying homes so it’s no surprise that dishonest companies and landlords are now targeting renters.The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers to be aware of these types of scams when looking for an apartment or house.

"Scammers often take advantage of people looking for a new place by asking for personal information such as credit history, social security numbers and work history, which leaves the victim open to identity theft," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

Additionally, Bernas noted, “Would be renters may get offers of great deals on the rent. The landlord may attempt to rent a property sight unseen, or in other cases may avoid meeting with the tenant.”

In the past twelve months alone, there have been 97 complaints filed in the"Apartment Finding & Rental Service" category. 4,398 consumers have inquired to the BBB about these companies in the same time frame.

The BBB offers the following advice when looking to rent: 

  • ·        Check Business Reviews of Northern Illinois Apartment Finding & Rental Service companies for free at www.bbb.org
  • ·        Only deal with individuals and organizations who are localand visit the location you are interested in renting before paying any money or signing any contracts;
  • ·        Be suspicious if you're asked to only use a wire transfer service for rental payments;
  • ·        Beware of e-mail correspondence from a potential "landlord" that's written in poor English or doesn't make complete sense;
  • Research the average rental rates in the area and be suspicious if the rate is significantly lower;
  • Be wary of agencies guarantying services despite your credit history;
  • ·        Visit as many homes or apartments as you can in order to have a better idea of what your money buys;
  • ·        Don't give out personal information, like social security, bank account or credit card numbers during a rental search.

 

“Remember, if something soundstoo good to be true, it probably is,” adds Bernas.

 

For more information on businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org

ABOUT BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB of South Central Louisiana, Inc. has been serving the local community since 1950 and services the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge & West Feliciana.