If you are in the market to rent a home in the near future, then take heed of this warning. Scammers are trying to rent you homes that are not available, not on the market, and frequently occupied. Homes that are REO or Short Sales are being targeted. Almost always the REO properties are vacant and the short sales are often vacant as well.
The scam works like this: After a house is listed on the market, a scammer then posts an ad online trying to rent out the home before it is sold. Interested candidates will then contact the scammer about renting the property. The scammer asks for them to submit their personal credit information for the lease application as well as two months of rent. Once they have your information, they have you!
Often times the renters don’t even know it’s a scam until they pick a key up from the scammers “office” and go and try to move in. They find the key doesn’t work, and sometimes the home will still be occupied by the current owners if it is a short sale.
Freddie Mac is aggressively watching the internet ads and removing any posting they find, but they won’t catch them all. To ensure you don’t get caught up in this, there are a couple of very obvious indicators to look for when talking to the “landlord.”
1. Try to get the current homeowners name. If they cannot give you the name, then it’s likely a scam.
2. If they are out of the country, keep your guard up.
3. They might ask you to send payment to them through Western Union.
4. They will try to “rent” the home to you without a lease being signed.
If you notice any of these indicators, please flag the ad as inappropriate or as a scam, and contact the proper authorities. Spread the word to all of your family and friends that are needing to rent a home so they don’t become the next victim.
For more information, please contact me at 801-999-8305.