If it’s too good to be true, chances are, it’s too good to be true.
That’s a pretty solid life lesson, which should certainly be applied to many things, especially when it comes to making a big decision like where you intend to lay your head at night.
Therefore, be weary of “homeowners” who offer to rent properties — that aren’t even theirs to market — for rockbottom prices. In fact, with the glut of foreclosed homes affecting just about every corner and neighborhood throughout the United States, the opportunities for scammers looking to dupe hard-working, honest folks increase exponentially.
Such is the case foreclosed homes being used to scam would-be renters. The scammers list foreclosed and/or vacant homes for rent, collect a down payment, typically online, and then disappear.
Rinse, wash, repeat and cheat.
A Keller Williams Realty agent from San Jose, Calif., explains how it’s done via the Seattle Times:
“They [a scammer] take my listing, flip it around, advertise it as a rental. People are told to wire money to an overseas account. Usually, the common thread is, ‘I’m the owner, I’m out of the country for some reason, and that is why I can’t come and meet you. If you’re interested, here’s my bank account, for the deposit.’”
Naturally, the would-be renter, in most cases, can’t “enter” the property until a deposit is made, meaning that photos online and a curbside inspection in these types of scams are red flags that must be identified — and avoided — at all costs.
Other foreclosure rent scam red flags include, but are not limited to:
- Insist on meeting the owner
- Don’t wire a deposit in exchange for the keys
- Be wary of rentals that are “too good to be true”
- Get a written rental agreement
- Be suspicious if the owner doesn’t want any information about you
Craigslist, which “goes to great lengths to prevent scams,” is often a common hunting ground for scammers to attempt this type of terrible trick. Be smart, rent carefully.
To check out a very reliable list of foreclosed homes for rent be sure to check out the best nationwide database right here.