BBB Wants To Warn You About Rental Scams

BBB Wants To Warn You About Rental Scams

Whether you're a first-time renter or already a pro, the BBB wants you to know how to avoid getting taken in by a rental scam.

Some scammers hijack a rental or real estate listing. Other rip-off artists make up listings for places that aren't for rent or don't exist, and lure you in with the promise of extra low rent. Their goal is to get your money before you find out.

Here are some signs you may be dealing with a scam:

  • They want you to wire money.  There's never a good reason to wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, or first month's rent. Wiring money is the same as sending cash - once you send it, you have no way to get it back.
  • They want a security deposit or first month's rent before you've met or signed a lease. It's never a good idea to send money to someone you've never met in person for an apartment you haven't seen.
  • They say they're out of the country.

But they have a plan to get the keys into your hands. It might involve a lawyer or "agent" working on their behalf. Some scammers even create fake keys. If you can't meet in person, see the apartment, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking.