Not all listing sites on the Internet are what they appear to be. Some hope to take advantage of you, turning your apartment search efforts into a heist of your money and time.
You have plenty to worry about in the middle of looking for a new apartment, but you must also be aware of online scam situations and potential rental fraud. Follow these tips to help ensure you don’t become a victim!
Only use reputable websites to hunt for an apartment. New apartment search sites pop up all the time, so be sure to go with a trusted name, like ApartmentGuide.com. With a reputable site, you can be sure that the information connected to the apartment community is legitimate and has been verified.
The apartment community manager or an official representative of the apartment management team should be on hand at all times during business hours at an apartment community. Don’t make a renting decision based only on talking to someone over the phone or via e-mail. While it is easy to fake an e-mail, it is much harder to fake the access needed to give a guided tour of a community, for instance. Use a phone call, e-mail or website link to set up an appointment, but visit the apartment community in person before taking any further action.
Practically all apartment communities will be able and willing to accept cash, a check or a money order for all fees and deposits in person at the time of the lease signing. This ensures that you meet the person to whom you are giving your money. Do not give your money to a third party you have never met in person. If you are asked to wire the money or mail a check somewhere, beware! This is not a traditional practice when it comes to renting apartments and should be treated with scrutiny.
Pay attention to common sense and intuition. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it likely is. When in doubt, call the publicly-listed number for the apartment community and ask to speak to the manager. Verify that the person you are speaking with actually works for the apartment community. Do not give any personal identification information to anyone you have not verified as a legitimate representative of the apartment community.
If you find that you are the victim of a rental scam or rental fraud, you can submit a complaint online with the FTC or file a complaint with the FBI. Be sure to include as much detail as possible in your complaint.