How to avoid being a victim of a real estate or rental scam

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have published a report about common real estate scams and rental scams they are finding and how to avoid them. Like most scams there are warning signs and red flags that can help you avoid falling victim; knowing what to look for is key.

The IC3 reminds people to be cautious when using the internet to either advertise real estate for sale or rent or to find a property to rent or buy.

For Landlords and Sellers of Property:

Look out for: Rental scams occur when the victim has property advertised and is contacted by an interested party. Once the rental price is agreed upon, the scammer sends a check for the deposit. The check covers housing expenses and is either written in excess of the amount required, with the scammer asking for the remainder to be remitted back, or for the correct amount, but the scammer backs out of the rental agreement and asks for a refund.

Because banks do not usually place a hold on the funds, the victim has immediate access to them and believes the check has cleared. In the end, the check is found to be counterfeit and the victim is held responsible by the bank for all losses.

For Renters and Home Buyers:

Look out for: The scammer duplicates postings from legitimate real estate sites, alters them, and reposts them. Often, the scammers use the broker’s real name to create a fake e-mail address, which gives the fraud more legitimacy. When the victim sends an e-mail through the website inquiring about the home, they receive a response from someone claiming to be the owner.

The “owner” typically says he and his wife are doing missionary work in a foreign country and need someone to rent their home while they are away. If the victim is interested, he or she is asked to send money to the “owner” in a foreign country. These funds go directly to the scammer, and the would-be renter loses his or her money.

Suggestions from the IC3 and FBI on how to protect yourself from schemes:

  • Do not accept overpayment for rental properties. If you receive a check that’s for more than the specified amount, return it. Do not deposit it.
  • Do not wire funds to people you do not know.
  • Verify potential renters’ income.
  • Request renters’ personal references and follow up with those individuals.
  • Check with your county recorder to learn who owns the property you’re seeking to rent.
  • Call the property manager or association, if applicable, and ask about the landlord.
  • Ask the landlord for a rental application. It’s a red flag if one is not available; most managed properties require an application.
  • Find out how much of a security deposit may be requested in your state. Scammers will often ask for extra money in the form of a deposit.

The following requests can be indicators of fraudulent activity:

  • The would-be tenant wants to rent or purchase the property sight unseen.
  • The potential tenant says he or she is out of the country and he or she would like to send you a cashier’s check.
  • The payment is for more than the agreed upon amount.
  • There’s an urgency to the entire process. For example, the tenant says he or she is arriving in the country next week and needs to establish residency right away.

If you feel you have been a victim of an Internet real estate scheme, you can file a complaint with the IC3 by clicking here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

84 comments to How to avoid being a victim of a real estate or rental scam

  • Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • Some genuinely nice and useful information on this internet site, likewise I think the pattern has wonderful features.

  • I’m curious to find out what blog system you have been using? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest website and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?

  • I appreciate, cause I found exactly what I was looking for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Absolutely pent subject matter, Really enjoyed looking through.

  • Hi my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

  • you have a great blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

  • You are a very clever person!

  • Very excellent info can be found on blog. “Politics is applesauce.” by Will Rogers.

  • Yeah bookmaking this wasn’t a high risk conclusion outstanding post! .

  • Good write-up, I?¦m normal visitor of one?¦s blog, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.

  • I wanted to type a simple word so as to thank you for all of the superb points you are posting here. My rather long internet lookup has finally been honored with pleasant concept to go over with my friends and family. I ‘d tell you that many of us readers are undoubtedly lucky to exist in a good website with very many awesome professionals with beneficial guidelines. I feel extremely grateful to have used the webpage and look forward to tons of more pleasurable times reading here. Thanks a lot again for all the details.

  • I truly enjoy reading on this web site, it has excellent content. “He who sees the truth, let him proclaim it, without asking who is for it or who is against it.” by Henry George.

  • Lovely just what I was looking for.Thanks to the author for taking his time on this one.

  • I am curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with? I’m having some minor security problems with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any solutions?

  • I do love the manner in which you have framed this specific situation plus it does give us some fodder for consideration. Nonetheless, through just what I have experienced, I simply trust as other feedback pile on that men and women continue to be on point and don’t embark upon a soap box of the news du jour. Still, thank you for this superb point and although I do not necessarily agree with this in totality, I value your standpoint.

  • Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  • hi!,I love your writing very much! proportion we keep in touch more approximately your article on AOL? I require an expert in this house to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Looking ahead to look you.

  • You have noted very interesting points! ps decent website . “It is better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for what you are not.” by Andre Gide.

  • I’m still learning from you, but I’m making my way to the top as well. I definitely love reading all that is written on your site.Keep the information coming. I loved it!

  • I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

  • I am glad to be one of several visitants on this great website (:, regards for posting.

  • Lovely just what I was searching for.Thanks to the author for taking his clock time on this one.

  • Pour perdre du poids rapidement, il s’agit évidemment de revoir dans un premier temps ses habitudes alimentaires.

  • This really answered my problem, thank you!

  • I genuinely enjoy looking at on this site, it has great posts.

  • great post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

  • Great web site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your sweat!

  • Wow! Thank you! I continuously needed to write on my website something like that. Can I implement a portion of your post to my site?

  • Appreciate it for this wonderful post, I am glad I detected this website on yahoo.

  • wonderful points altogether, you simply received a new reader. What may you suggest about your put up that you made some days in the past? Any positive?

  • Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, regards.

  • Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site. You have some really great articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Kudos!

  • You have brought up a very excellent details , regards for the post.

  • I really appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again

  • I was studying some of your content on this site and I conceive this web site is really informative! Continue putting up.

  • I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?

  • naturally like your web site however you have to test the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to tell the reality on the other hand I’ll certainly come again again.

  • My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome blog!

  • You have brought up a very fantastic points, appreciate it for the post.

  • I¦ve read several good stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you put to create this type of wonderful informative web site.

  • I was recommended this website through my cousin. I am no longer sure whether or not this put up is written via him as nobody else understand such targeted about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thank you!

  • Hiya very cool web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also…I am happy to search out so many useful information here in the post, we’d like develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.

  • Fantastic site. A lot of useful info here. I am sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you to your sweat!

  • Very interesting points you have mentioned, thanks for putting up.

  • A lot of thanks for all of your work on this website. My niece delights in doing investigation and it’s really obvious why. Almost all know all relating to the dynamic tactic you provide rewarding tips and hints via your web blog and even inspire response from other individuals on the content and my child is now starting to learn a lot. Take pleasure in the rest of the new year. You have been conducting a first class job.

  • I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • whoah this weblog is magnificent i love reading your articles. Keep up the good paintings! You understand, many people are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  • Regards for helping out, great information.

  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  • Respect to op, some great selective information.

  • I’m not sure why but this website is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  • Some really nice and useful info on this web site, likewise I believe the design has excellent features.

  • You have brought up a very wonderful details , appreciate it for the post.

  • Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thanks

  • It’s onerous to seek out knowledgeable individuals on this subject, but you sound like you recognize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

  • Pretty component of content. I simply stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to say that I get in fact loved account your weblog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing for your augment and even I fulfillment you get right of entry to persistently fast.

  • The very core of your writing while appearing reasonable at first, did not work very well with me personally after some time. Someplace throughout the paragraphs you actually were able to make me a believer but only for a very short while. I still have a problem with your leaps in logic and one would do nicely to help fill in all those breaks. When you can accomplish that, I will certainly be impressed.

  • Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a totally different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!

  • I love it when people come together and share opinions, great blog, keep it up.

  • I visited many web sites however the audio feature for audio songs existing at this web site is in fact wonderful.|

  • Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  • Greetings! Very helpful advice on this article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  • I think this is one of the most important information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on few general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

  • Thanks for sharing excellent informations. Your web site is very cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and just could not come across. What an ideal website.

  • I’ve recently started a blog, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  • I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  • Excellent website. A lot of helpful information here. I am sending it to a few buddies ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks on your sweat!

  • I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are very short for beginners. Could you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  • Hi there very nice blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionallyKI am happy to seek out so many useful info here within the publish, we’d like work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  • Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you’ve on this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found just the information I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What an ideal web-site.

  • Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue along with your website in internet explorer, would check thisK IE still is the marketplace chief and a big component of other folks will pass over your wonderful writing due to this problem.

  • I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this website. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has inspired me to get my own web site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a great example of it.

  • Hi there, simply became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful in case you continue this in future. A lot of other people will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  • I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site :).

  • Hello, Neat post. There’s an issue with your site in internet explorer, may check this… IE still is the marketplace leader and a good component of other folks will omit your excellent writing due to this problem.

  • I have been reading out a few of your articles and it’s pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your blog.

  • Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Kudos

  • I just couldn’t go away your web site before suggesting that I really loved the standard information a person provide in your visitors? Is gonna be back ceaselessly to inspect new posts.

  • Dead indited articles, Really enjoyed examining.

  • I like this post, enjoyed this one regards for putting up. “I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.” by John Keats.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>