Lets say you found the perfect new home. Congratulations! The party renting the home wants a security deposit and rent to hold the home. Things are happening fast..probably way too fast. Before giving anyone money when renting a home here is a checklist of things to do to make sure you are not the victim of a rental scam.
- If a person states they are a Realtor or licensed agent, confirm with the state licensing board, real estate board, or even the company they claim to work for.
- Most of these scammers seem to indicate they work solo, so checking on licensing is a smart first step.
- Type the address into a search engine on the web and see if other listings come up for the home. If so, call and inquire and see if it is the same people.
- Deposits and earnest money should not be made payable to individuals. If you are asked to write a check to an individual, do a lot more homework.
- If things seem really suspicious, check the local tax records and locate the name of the owner per these records. Test the agent’s knowledge or even better, attempt to confirm with the owner that they are selling or renting their home with the person you are dealing with.
- Do not accept funds from the person you are dealing with in an arrangement to return those funds to them. These scams are elaborate but you will end up ripped off…promise.
- Do not send funds to a person claiming they are the owner of a property without using every method in the book to actually confirm that they are the owner. Tax records, picture ID, utility bills…there are many ways to connect the dots!
Don’t feel threatened that you are going to lose a great deal. Most of the time you will probably not losing a thing.