BBB Gives Tips to Avoid Real Estate Scams

The Better Business Bureau wants to help you avoid being taken in by a Real Estate Scam.  The scammers can hijack a rental or real estate listing and make up listings that either aren't for rent or don't exist in order to lure victims in with the promise of low rent or a great sale price.  Here are some signs you may encounter when dealing with a scam.

They want you to wire money.  There is no reason to wire money for a security deposit, an application fee, or first month's rent. Once the money is sent, there is no way to get it back.

They want a security deposit or first month's rent.  If they ask for this before you've met or signed a lease, it isn't a good idea when you haven't seen the property or the property owner.

They say they're out of the country.  Though they claim to have a plan to give you the key, this will likely involve an “agent” working on their behalf.  Scammers sometimes even create fake keys.

If you can't meet in person, see the property, or sign a lease before you pay, keep looking.  Always check with the property owner and BBB before turning over any of your hard-earned money.