If you reply to a rental listing and get an email stating that an owner is looking for a “responsible person” to rent his house while he “stays in Africa” (real example), you’re probably going to suspect it’s a scam.
Often, however, rental scams aren’t so easy to identify. The BBB’s new study “Is That Rental Listing Real?” reveals that, no, there’s a good chance it’s not. And you could fall for it.
While most of us picture seedy fake apartment listings on Craigslist, the BBB reveals that rental scams are pervasive even on what are widely considered “classier” house hunting sites like Zillow or Realtor.com. Although, Craigslist is problematic; it only catches around 46% of fake rental ads.
Unbeknownst to many, often the fake (yet convincing) property being advertised isn’t even the scam part; it’s just the bait being dangled to con them into signing up for a fake credit check/score (allegedly to determine if they’re “eligible” to rent, but really to procure their personal info determine if).
Sadly, it’s younger people (often those hunting for their first apartment) who most often fall victim to these scams. If you know any recent college grads looking for a cheap place to call home, call them up and let them know that roaches and bad roommates may be the least of their worries!