Craigslist remains the biggest and dominant online classified website around the USA. It’s one of the top websites that people usually visits when they are looking for a specific item or stuff available around their neighborhood. It’s also one of the top websites that most renters use in searching their next apartment or place to call home.
Being the one of the go-to-websites of most consumers with their money readily available, it also became a playing field of scammers, fraudsters and bad people. No matter how hard the network tries to fight against these evil-doers, they always and they can pop-out anytime they wanted too.
But this didn’t mean that they are unavoidable. Craigslist itself has a full page dedicated to avoiding scams and how to combat and report fraud attempts. It’s a truly helpful article that every consumer must read before pulling out their hard earned money.
And if you are a first time renter or soon-to-be tenant looking for a place to call home, here are few tips and safety advice that can help you.
Don’t Wire Funds
Don’t ever wire funds (e.g. Western Union) to anyone in order to secure the property for rent. If the listings or the poster of the ads asks you to, it’s 99.9% a scam. Remember, Craigslist won’t get involved and will never be involved in any transaction that you, “the renter” and the “property owner” will do. If a fee is really needed for you to secure the house or apartment, much better to visit the property in person, deal face to face and ask for a receipt for your payment.
Don’t Give Out Financial Info
Don’t give out your bank account details, social security number and other financial details (payslip, income tax return info, etc) even the listings asked you to do so. If there’s a need for it for some reason, better bring the papers personally to the property manager or landlord of your chosen place. This way, you’ll meet the person behind the ads face to face and you can be sure that all the things said at the property listings are true and correct.
Verify the Availability of the Property
There are lots of reported scams that involve a middleman. Most people calls this as the middleman scam wherein a scammer pretends to be the authorized person to handle, manage and accept payments for a certain property available for rent. They typically use a real photo of the property, photos of the owners as well and other proof that the property indeed exist. To avoid this kind of scam, call the real owners of the property and tell them the name of the person who is acting as the middleman. This way, you’ll know if they are truly an authorized representative or not.
Check The Property With A Friend
If you will check the listed property in person and the location is somewhat new to you, take a friend along. Aside from the added protection, your friend can give you an honest opinion about the property. For more rental property viewing tips, check out this link.
If The Listing Sounds Too Good To Be True, Stay Away From It!
If the listed property looks so good and sounds so amazing but the price doesn’t really equate into it, better think! If this one is not a scam, most probably it’s a deceptive listing with hidden charges and fees.