Property Management Blog

Rental Scams by Independence Capital Property Management

Shawn Johnson - Friday, October 4, 2019

Here at ICPM, your asset is our highest priority. We have put security measures in place to safeguard that very asset. One of those times when there is a great need for protection is when the home is on the rental market and how we combat scams. From the experience of 2 property management companies, across the nation, who have experienced scams first hand, we have learned a thing or two about how to handle these types of situations.

Tips on how to avoid getting scammed as a prospective tenant:

As a prospective tenant, know who you are dealing with at all times. First and foremost, work with reputable companies that have a vested interest in your success in finding a home that fits your needs. One way to know who you are dealing with is to cross-check the ads that you are responding to and verify who you are communicating with to know if the person is who they say they are. Here are some things to know and questions to ask:

  1. Are there any other websites listing the same property?  
    1. If yes, do they have the same contact details? The company, contact number, asking rental price?
      1. Mismatched asking price is a huge red flag to watch for. Typically when a home is being scammed, you’ll see it listed for a “too good to be true” price. 
    2. Is it listed on Craigslist? Craigslist is notorious for being used to scam people with rental listings. Most reputable companies (including ICPM) DO NOT use Craigslist due to the high likelihood of getting scammed on the site.
  2. If you are asked to wire money, you are being scammed. Reputable property management companies use secured platforms to accept rent and deposits, not via wire transfer. Wire transfers are a common request by scammers so beware!
  3. If you are speaking to a “homeowner” who says they are out of town and can’t meet face to face you are being scammed.
  4. Make sure you know exactly where are you submitting the rental application to. When dealing with ICPM, we only accept applications directly on our secured website. This is important because you are supplying sensitive information that needs to be handled with extreme caution and kept secure.
  5. Cross-reference the “For Rent” sign in the yard. Make sure that it is the company or person you are dealing with.
  6. If there is a codebox in place and the person you are dealing with asks you to circumnavigate the use of the codebox when viewing the home, you are being scammed. Call the listing agent immediately and report it. Often times, the listing company's contact information will be listed on the codebox.
  7. When dealing with an individual, make note of the method and the name of the person you are giving your deposit to. Require them to give you a receipt. If they are asking you to wire money, stop and do not proceed. 
  8. Be vigilant in all circumstances since ignorance of the law excuses no one. 

For Landlords and Property Managers, here are tips and tricks that you can do so this doesn't happen to you. 

  1. Make random checks on vacant properties weekly. This visible presence will be a sort of warning for people who are observing your property that you are keeping your eyes open to any possibility of lock changing, unauthorized showing, etc.
  2. Make visible posters and place on or around the property so people can see who manages it. Scam alert plastered on the wall as shown in the video will remind prospective tenants viewing the property who they are and should be dealing with regarding the property rental.
  3. Posters displayed on the door will also remind locksmiths to verify company details to ensure they are also working with the right people when changing locks. When utilizing locksmiths, make sure they are checking credentials to verify the property is managed by or owned who is said to be.

At the end of the day, we want to educate the public about the scams that are taking place in an effort to eliminate the abuses that are taking place to unsuspecting people.

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