Craig’s List ads Target NYC Renters
A well known Craig’s List scam is rearing its head again for people that are looking for homes or apartments for rent. The soaring demand for moderate priced rentals in the NYC area is making the market attractive to scam artists who are more than willing to show you a house that is not really theirs to rent.
The scam works like this: A legitimate property is used that has been recently listed for rent or for sale. The scam artist takes the photo and description of the property and posts their own ad at a reduced price. The renter is enticed to rent the property with the lower price, but they have to lock in the price by wiring money immediately.
Usually the scam artist will have the prospective renter wire the money for a deposit (or send a cashiers check to a PO Box). Some scammers are bolder and will meet tenants at the property in order to get the deposit money. They may appear as having the authority to rent the property, and may even have access to the home or apartment.
What can you do to prevent being a victim of a rental scam? The best advice is to practice “due diligence,” and make certain the property and landlord are both legitimate. Here’s some additional tips to avoid being a victim of a rental scam:
1) Speak directly to the agent of record, property manager or legally registered owner of the property. Ask real estate agents and property managers for their business cards. Better yet, visit their office.
2) Don’t give any money to anyone without a paper trail. Get receipts for everything. It’s generally a good idea to never wire money to anyone you have not met in person. Sending a cashier’s check is a bad idea too, since it can be impossible to get the money back once it is cashed. Consider using an escrow service, even if you have to pay out of your own pocket.
3) Use the internet to check out the address. If the home is listed for sale or has any foreclosure activity, it’s probably not a good idea to rent the property. When a home is sold or foreclosed on, many times the legitimate tenants are forced to move out. Look for any suspicious listings of the property online, many times the scam artist has fooled other people too.
The best advice is to speak to an expert rental agent at Mark David & Company. We can determine quickly whether a rental listing is legitimate or a Craig’s List scam. We have rented thousands of New York area homes are apartments to thousand of happy clients. Don’t be taken with a scam, call Mark David & Company today at (212) 775-6100 for a current list of available homes for rent.