“Rental Scams” are once again on the rise in Southern Nevada. These scams come a in variety of shapes and sizes. Some are just phantom properties advertised online that do not exist. While others are vacant properties that have been broken into and the scammer has changed the locks. Fraudsters also hijack legitimate ads and change the contact and other information in the ad or create their own fake ads.
There are certain “red flags” you can watch for. First if the price of the property is unbelievably low. This should raise your suspicions. That old saying “if it looks too be true it probably is” definitely applies.
Additional things to look for are:
-They only want to deal in cash or difficult to trace funds like reloadable cards and wire transfers
-They cannot meet in person, are out of the country or just never available and want to handle the transaction without ever meeting.
-They ask for large upfront fees prior to signing the lease.
-There is no screening process for those applying – they just want the cash.
There are some steps you can take to avoid being caught in a fraudulent deal. Research the landlord or property management company. Google is a wonderful tool for this. If renting from an individual, verify they actually own the property. Public records are generally available and can be found online. This is one of the many reasons to work with a REALTOR®. They will have access or know where to find information on most properties. Lastly whenever possible do not rent a property you have not visited. In some cases this may not be possible. In these situations, rely on a trusted friend or relative to view the property for you or do your research to make certain you are dealing with a legitimate source.
If you do unfortunately get scammed be sure to contact law enforcement and file a report. You should also contact the owner of the source where the fraudulent advertisement was posted. Additionally, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). More information can be found by clicking the link below