No one likes admitting when they have been scammed, and even more so when that scam has led to serious financial losses. Rental scams are the worst of these scenarios because there are so many ways that you might avoid them. Yet, when an individual or even an organization does manage to obtain furnished housing rentals from you, and then proves to be a scam, you might wish to pretend it never happened and move on. Is that a good idea? In a word: No. Instead, it’s a great idea to share details about any rental scams with others, and help improve the whole furnished housing industry for the many investors out there.
Below are some of our biggest tips for identifying rental scams and avoiding the culprits. We share them because we have experienced many ourselves, as you can read about in this previous article, and others.
Here are the biggest and easiest to spot of the proverbial “red flags” that indicate your furnished housing is being targeted by a scammer:
They don’t complete the rental application – No blanks allowed should be your new motto. And even if the “name” given is a corporation, don’t just accept it. Do the research and find out all that you can, including full details about the individual actually seeking their “corporate” housing. This also applies if someone refuses to submit the rental credit application. It could be that they have a history of scams, really horrible credit or are unable to actually afford the rental. If someone refuses the credit check…refuse the application.
Incomplete data – The forms may seem to be complete, but don’t overlook a very common scam, which is to leave numbers (social security, credit card and phone numbers to be precise) incomplete. You can also ask for copies of documents like a driver’s license if you fear that an identity might not be all that authentic.
They’re in a hurry – They want that property of yours and they want it yesterday! This is one of the best types of rental scams because it forces you to rush into the deal, and these are often deals that end up costing you. Take your time, no matter what amount is at stake.
Differing stories – Have you gotten mixed messages from someone or some firm seeking your furnished housing? Maybe one person has spoken with you and someone who helps you at your business? Maybe you’ve gotten someone who wants nothing on paper or written down (i.e. all kinds of verbal agreements)? Maybe they tell you one thing during their first call and something else during another? If a story changes, even a little, it is probably scam related.
Cash offers – Finally, we once covered the issue of cash offers as rental scams. This too is a major red flag to be avoided.
Now you have some of our most recognizable scams and can dodge the worst offenders out there.