In this week’s #FraudFriday post, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department warns citizens not to fall for scams when renting or leasing a home or apartment.
Looking for a new place to live? Be careful where you want to call home.
There used to be a time when newspapers were the place to search for rental properties, but now with social media apps and public listing websites, it gives thieves new opportunities to prey on victims.
Scammers copy and paste a legitimate listing, then offer it at an unbelievable lower price, and will give you the opportunity to sublease part of the property.
To avoid this scam, verify who owns the property. Ask for the homeownership documents that prove that you’re dealing with a person who owns the property and has all the rights to rent out this place. This will help you understand that this whole deal is legit.
These homeowner documents can then be confirmed through the office of the LA County Assessor’s office. Also make sure their name is on the written lease agreement.
Remember actual landlords will always make arrangements to show the property to a potential renter and will also run credit checks before committing to a contract.
If the person you are dealing with doesn’t do that, be wary of a possible scam.
You should always look for these red flags:
* The scammer will allow you to view the exterior property only but advise they are unable to schedule an appointment to see the interior because they are out of town or live out of state.
* The details of the listing price may not sound reasonable for the neighborhood. (Example: actual rental property price in an area may be $3000.00, but the property may be listed for a $1000.00.)
* The “owner” insists on payment in advance and wants the funds sent by wire transfer.
Do your research before you lose your home sweet home.
“If it’s too good to be true it’s probably a scam.”
For more information about renting in Los Angeles County, please visit the LA County consumer and business affairs website at http://dcba.lacounty.gov/BEFORE-YOU-RENT/.