Renters beware: Online rental scams may be moving to a city near you. What are some keys to avoid becoming a victim?
In one recent case, an Arizona resident fell victim to a classic online housing scam on the popular housing website Zillow. The victim found a house for rent on Zillow and inquired about it. The scammer told the victim he would hold the house for $800, and the victim sent the money. But after the scammer asked for more money, the victim grew suspicious and called police, Tucson's KOLD-TV reports.
Deal locally with people you can meet in person. According to Craigslist's housing scam tips, "follow this one rule and avoid 99 percent of scam attempts."
Don't rent or purchase housing sight-unseen. Unfortunately, pictures can be misleading. In this case, photos of a legitimate listing in the "sale" section were taken and relisted by the scammer in the "rentals" section. Nothing can trump going to the property in-person and speaking to the owner.
Never wire funds. Especially for rental properties, beware requests for substantial deposits before seeing the place.
Don't submit to credit or background checks remotely. Wait until you have met the landlord or agent in person before giving up your personal information.