Rental scams are still haunting consumers -- targeting renter and landlord alike -- and giving rise to new warnings, especially for those using the free classified site Craigslist.
The Better Business Bureau is reporting an increase in complaints about rental scams and suggests those on both sides of the lease should be careful.In Omaha, a woman who wanted to rent an apartment placed an ad on Craigslist. When she got a response saying that the apartment was perfect and the person would pay whatever security deposit she wanted, red flags went up.
Be skeptical whenever someone offers more than what was even asked of them. It often is an attempt to try to loosen defenses to draw money from the target.
There's another common scam in which con artists use pictures of houses for sale, posts them on Craigslist and asks for first and last month's rent.
When the would-be tenant checks out the house online and sends their deposit -- that money disappears and so does the rental.
BBB officials say that if the offer is too easy -- they'll pay whatever security deposit you want, and don't need to see the house, that's a red flag.
It's also a warning sign if the rent seems way too low, or if the landlord wants the money wired without showing you the house.
One quick way to make sure the place is legit is by Googling the address. If it shows up as a "for sale" home, there could be a problem.
For other tips, check out the Federal Trade Commission, which investigates online scams. Also check out AOL Real Estate's stories Avoid a Craigslist Rental Scam and Online Rental Scams to Avoid.
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