As students head back to school and search for a perfect apartment for the school year, Better Business Bureau reminds young adults to evaluate rental offerings thoroughly before paying a deposit.
All too often, BBB fields calls from home seekers reporting that after wiring money to secure a spot in a rental property, they discover the property is not actually up for rent. When the person attempts to reach the recipient of the wired money, he or she finds that the supposed property owner or leasing agent no longer responds to emails.
Many of these fake rental listings found on classified sites tout unbelievably low prices on beautiful properties. In some cases, the owner of the property may claim to be doing missionary work in a foreign county. Most communication is done via email and many who are scammed never see the inside of the property for which they wire a deposit.
BBB advises those seeking fall housing to consider the following when searching online:
- Be wary of a property owner who insists you pay a deposit to view the interior of the property for rent.
- Beware of deals too good to be true. Research comparable listings and ask questions of any property being listed significantly less than its counterparts.
- Think twice before wiring a deposit. Once money is wired, it is very difficult to retrieve.
- Visit the property on your own. In some cases, rental scams are easily uncovered when it’s discovered that the home owner is currently living at the advertised address and is not renting out the home.
- If red flags appear, attempt to look up the current property owner by visiting our county offices. Search the name of whoever is corresponding with you via a search engine.
- If questions arise, call Better Business Bureau at 916-443-6843, or ask a question on our Facebook page at facebook.com/necalbbb.