Rental Scams: How to Protect Yourself

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rental scams have grown by almost 30% in the United States, according to CNBC.

If you’re looking to rent an apartment or house, here’s what you need to know to protect yourself:

How Do Rental Scams Work?

Unfortunately, there are multiple rental scams. These may include:

1. Financial Scams: These are scams that aim to steal your rent payment by either fraud or accessing your financial accounts.

2. Information Scams: Scammers can pose as representatives for rental services and try to gain your personal information for the purpose of identity theft.

Signs of a Rental Scam

Wondering what a rental scam looks like? Here’s what you can look out for in case you feel like you’re dealing with scammers:

  • They have no prior record or portfolio of clients in the landlord or tenant circles.
  • They lack professionalism, such as numerous spellings in emails or other communication.
  • They often contact you using different caller IDs and email addresses.
  • They often ask for covert charges that you might not understand or seem excessive.
  • They vanish once you’ve paid the rental deposit and are nowhere to be found.

Where to Report Rental Scams?

If you think you’ve been the victim of a rental scam, here are steps to help:

1. Contact the bank or payment service you used to make the payment and report the fraud.

2. You can file a fraud report with the police and the Federal Trade Commission.

3. Get identity theft protection and credit report monitoring to stay on top of any changes to your credit report.