The last housing bubble resulted in many devastating foreclosures and pushed many owners into the unchartered rental market.
Identity thieves flocked to the rental housing scene making it that much more vital for potential homebuyers and people seeking houses and homes to rent in Texas, to do their due diligence, to learn the warning signs of identity scammers. Thieves are using a multitude of ways to steal personal information and money from unwary victims, and many of the scams are occurring online.
The scams usually involve an online post about an available rental property and when someone expresses interest, the scammer sends a rental or lease agreement requiring personal information like birth date, Social Security number and current address. Some may even ask for bank account information to verify your eligibility. The unsuspicious renter willingly offers up the information in hopes of being approved for the home to rent.
Identity scams start with scammers posting phony properties online, targeting renters seeking a great price. They will usually draw you in by listing a rental with a market price far lower than others in the area. The rental property listing will have a real address and photographs and the renter will be asked to either wire a deposit or send a money order to hold the rental.
In most cases, the renter doesn't get to see the rental property and the next thing they know - they've lost their money and they don't have a place! What most renters don't realize is, it’s extremely easy to copy a listing and put up a phony one.
Rental scamming is a two way street: homeowners seeking to find good and loyal tenants for their rental property can also become victims. A very popular scam involves someone living outside the US agreeing to move into a rental property sight unseen. The prospective renter may even send a six month deposit to relieve any fear.
A few weeks later, the scamming renter will call to rescind their agreement and tell the landlord to keep two months of their security deposit for the trouble and send the rest back. The landlord cashes the check, sends the money back and a week later the check bounces. According to the book, 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age, even though you waited a few days for the check to clear, the bank doesn't tell you that it’s only provisional credit. The bank takes back the money when the check truly does bounce.
While identity thieves have become more sophisticated, renters and landlords can educate themselves so they stay one step ahead. Being aware of common red flags will prevent you from losing any money or sacrifice personal losses.
A professional brokerage agency like Lease Anywhere, LLC, will always be on the lookout for these types of scams.
Lease Anywhere, LLC is a safe and reliable resource to protect yourself from preying online identity scammers. They protect renters and homeowners from the fear and frustration of finding good and loyal tenants and finding the perfect rental home in Texas.
Call for a complimentary consultation at 281-857-6486 or fill out the contact form to learn how you can get started with them today!
ABOUT LEASE ANYWHERE
Lease Anywhere, LLC is the premier Texas brokerage agency specializing in residential properties: houses, townhouses, and high-rise condos. They serve families, young professionals and students in Downtown Houston, Pearland, Katy, Sugar Land, Fairfield, Greater Heights and Memorial, Texas.