If you are in the market for a new rental, keep an eye out for potential scammers.
Remember the phrase “too good to be true.” If a property is priced well below the comparable properties on the market, something might be wrong (this applies to sales too). In the case of a property for sale, there might be a serious issue with the foundation or the oil tank, just to name a couple.
The New Canaan Daily Voice reported an incident of a $700 house rental listed on Craigslist. The woman was from Arkansas and looking for a rental. For most of us who live in this area, we would know something doesn’t sound right about $700 per month rental in New Canaan. We would think “maybe they are missing a three and meant $3,700?” The police looked into it but the paper didn’t have any further information. To read the article, CLICK HERE.
I know from personal experience that Craigslist is a good place for scammers. Craigslist will tell you that if anyone asks for money to be wired to an account, or asks for a money order to secure the place before seeing it, etc., you should be skeptical. About a year ago I had a studio apartment listed for rent around $900 per month. I received an email from a tenant whom I had been in contact with regarding seeing the place. He asked me why it was listed for less in a different posting on the same site. I said it wasn’t but he sent me the link. Sure enough, there was my rental listing, with the EXACT same pictures that I took, and the same remarks I had published. The only difference was the contact information.
I called the number and spoke with someone and asked some basic questions about the place pretending I was a renter. The guy suggested that we meet there are the apartment. I let him know that I was actually the agent whom he stole the ad from and he quickly became hostile. I called back after he hung up and spoke with another guy who was even more hostile about me calling him out on his scam. I told him I was calling the police and he hung up. I gave the police the link to their scam advertisement and their phone number, but I don’t know if anything came of it. What I was really concerned about was “what would these guys do if I met them at the apartment?” Would they just try and get me to sign a fake lease and give money? Would they outright mug me? Who knows…
If you are concerned about an ad you saw online for rent by owner, consider contacting a real estate professional. In most cases there is NO FEE for the tenant to get help finding a place. The landlord pays the Realtor fee in most cases in this area. Check out my RENTER’s page to see why it makes so much sense for me to help you find a rental.
You can visit www.NorwalkRealEstateTodd.com for more information on Norwalk real estate and to browse local real estate listings. Feel free to email Todd or post questions to www.Facebook.com/NorwalkRealEstate