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March 30, 2016

How to Spot a Phony Online Rental Ad

Rental Housing

Online rental scams are easier to explain than they are to spot. In a rental scam, fraudsters place Internet ads using photos of properties they don't own and then collect security deposits and first month rent checks from trusting renters who didn't take the time – or didn't know how – to check out the facts.

Freddie Mac's newest anti-fraud video will help you spot phony online rental ads and avoid becoming a fraud statistic. According to the latest FBI statistics, nearly 10,000 victims filed complaints about online real estate fraud in 2014 and, on average, lost $2000 per scam.

We're posting this video now for two reasons. First, rental scams increase when rental markets are tight. As rents rise and vacancy rates fall, more people are more likely to pay attention to online ads that promise too-good-to-be-true deals.

Second, most renters move between May and September, which means thousands of families and individuals are probably on the Internet right now looking at rental ads.

Freddie Mac's new fraud video shows consumers how to check out online ads for phony promises and verify that ads were placed by the owner or someone legally authorized to list the property for rent. Consumers are also strongly advised to never write a check to rent a property until they have checked out the facts by verifying the ad and personally visiting the property they want to rent.

For more information about renting, buying or owning a home, visit My Home by Freddie MacSM.

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