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Before renting, make sure the apartment or house exists.

Posted by: Jane Friedmann under Advertising claims, Buyer beware, Whistleblower Updated: July 12, 2013 - 1:44 PM


Are you moving to a new city? Moving across town, but have limited mobility? Don't be fooled by bogus apartment rental scams, the Federal Trade Commission warns.


Here's how the scams work:

Scammers clone legitimate rental listings and alter them to include different contact information. They then place the modified ads in newspapers and online. Scammers also create listings for rentals that don't exist or aren't available.

When a person agrees to rent and wires money to the scammers, they have just kissed that money goodbye.

"Never wire money or send a check to someone you've never met for an apartment you've never seen," the FTC advised.

Run from high-pressure sales tactics and consider that the better the deal the more likely it is to be a scam, the commission said.

Landlords can also get scammed when a bogus renter sends a fake check to secure the rental. The check is for more than the agreed-upon amount and the scammer tells the landlord to cash the check and wire the difference back to the renter. Later, when the check comes back as fake, the landlord is left having to repay the bank, the FTC said.

If you wired money and then realized you've been taken, call the money transfer company to report the fraud. You can also file a complaint with the FTC.



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