Are you looking for an affordable apartment to rent? If so, you may turn to Craigslist.org to start the search. Although you fill find cheap apartments on Craigslist, you may also find apartment rental scams. How can you avoid becoming a victim?
Never pay without first seeing the apartment in-person. A scammer doesn’t have an apartment to rent. They pretend they do. Since there is no actual apartment, they will come up with many reasons why you cannot view it ahead of time. Run, as it is likely a rental scam. If relocating, send a friend or associate to view the apartment for you. Unfortunately, frauds like to target those relocating because there is often a last minute rush to rent an apartment and because some renters do not have the chance to view an apartment beforehand.
Don’t fall victim to upfront fees. It is common for landlords to perform background checks on their tenants. However, many frauds are using this legitimate practice to steal money. They claim all potential tenants must undergo a background check, but that you must pay the fee. You handover the money and they disappear. Most legitimate property owners cover the cost of background checks themselves. If you are asked to pay the fee, handle everything yourself. State you will request and pay for your own background check. A scammer won’t like this. Or, ask to have the fee rolled into your first month’s rent, which you will pay after viewing the apartment.
Never give out your credit card information. Rent is paid in cash or checks. Don’t offer to make payment another way. In fact, be cautious of any “landlord, ” who asks for your credit or debit card number. Once again, they may use the background check as an excuse. Don’t do it! A landlord does not need your credit card information. Anyone who pressures you for this information is doing nothing more than trying to scam you.
Most importantly, look for a local contact number. Long distance landlords typically employee a local resident to collect rent checks, show the property, make repairs, and so forth. This individual may be a part-time or full-time caretaker. You will contact this individual to make an appointment to see the apartment. Make sure the number is semi-local.
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