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April 09, 2014

Beware of Phony Rental Ads

Rental Fraud

Here's the bad news: Fraudsters continue to con house hunters out of rent money and personal credit information by falsely advertising foreclosed homes they don't own as rentals.  Worse, the scam that we initially found on Craigslist in 2012 is spreading to other real estate sites.

Responsible web managers pull phony rental ads that use Freddie Mac's HomeSteps homes when we call. But the risk house hunters will be conned before they do remains. Here's one sign of how seriously we take the threat.

Our HomeSteps REO sales team added "not for rent" language to their "for-sale" signs. HomeSteps doesn't rent homes. (If you see a house on in an Internet rental ad call 1-800-4FRAUD8 immediately!)

Consider this advice from our Caveat Renter Executive Perspective before responding to an Internet rental ad:

  • Verify the house is really for rent by calling the listing agent whose name is on the "for sale"
    sign. (Walk away if the Internet advertiser tells you not to call the listing agent.)
  • Verify who owns the house by checking online county land records.
  • Never share personal credit information or send money until you independently confirm all the facts in the rental ad.
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