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Online scams are so prevalent that nobody is surprised by them anymore. Threats lurk around every corner and we, as regular Internet users, have grown so accustomed to them that we just shrug our shoulders and move on. It’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

Seriously, no place is safe. Facebook scams How To Identify A Facebook Scam Before It's Too Late How To Identify A Facebook Scam Before It's Too Late Read More have been popular for a while and gamers have had to deal with Steam scams Steam Scams To Watch Out For and How to Stay Safe Steam Scams To Watch Out For and How to Stay Safe The only downside of Steam is the potential for ne'er-do-wells attempting to scam you, be it for games, items, or cold hard cash. Don't fall for their scams! Read More over the past few years. And then there are eBay scams 5 eBay Scams To Be Aware Of 5 eBay Scams To Be Aware Of Being scammed sucks, especially on eBay. You invest all of that time into selling a particular product or you spend a lot of time researching the perfect item, complete the transaction, and then… nothing. The... Read More , which tend to be in a class of their own in terms of how scummy they are.

But one of the more recent trends in Scam City appears to be the Apartment Rental Scam. More and more people are finding their next place to live through online services, and scammers have learned to take advantage yet again.

Don’t become the next victim. Here’s what you need to look out for.

Way Too Good to Be True

If you’re searching for a new pad online, there’s one truth that you must make peace with: rent is going to be a big chunk of your monthly budget. You get what you pay for and there’s just no way around it — which is why “too good to be true” listings should always be a red flag.

Great photos? Awesome. Great location? Even better. Great price? Now we’re stepping into suspicious territory. That last point — affordability — is the real clincher, as scammers often use impossibly low price points to attract as many potential victims as possible.

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Another manifestation of “too good to be true” is the promise of no credit or background checks. Most reputable property managers want to make sure that their tenants are respectable to a degree, so it’s rare that they will forego the checking process except on a case-by-case basis.

apartment-rental-scam-too-good

As a renter, you may be thrilled to skip the inconvenience of a credit and background check (especially because they usually require some kind of fee on your part), and that’s why scammers love to throw this in the listing: because it entices people to act fast without thinking.

The same holds true if the listing promises no lease signings. No reputable property manager is going to rent out an apartment without a lease!

What You Should Do: If it sounds too good to be true, walk away. Sure, a few of those listings might actually be legitimate, but you’ll be dodging hundreds of scam listings in the process. The odds are stacked against you and the safest option is to not play that game.

Missing Photos and Poor Grammar

Whether you’re searching on Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, or any number of other apartment search engines Top 5 U.S. Apartment Search Engines Top 5 U.S. Apartment Search Engines Read More , you should be wary of any listings that have horrible grammar and/or lack photos.

Think about it from their perspective. If you’re putting up an apartment for rent, wouldn’t you want to show what it looks like? There are two situations where you might not want to: 1) the apartment is in terrible condition or 2) the apartment doesn’t exist.

Neither is good news for you, the renter.

apartment-rental-scam-photos

To be clear, I’m not saying that low quality photos imply a low quality apartment. Low quality photos are fine, but missing photos are not. Any reputable landlord will put in the effort to take and post up a few photos at least.

As for bad grammar, it usually indicates that the listing was computer-generated (similar to the way spam emails How To Report Email Fraud & Spam To Authorities How To Report Email Fraud & Spam To Authorities Read More are) or posted by someone overseas, like a scammer from a third-world region. It’s the same kind of red flag that you might use to discern between fake online reviews The Scourge Of The Web: Fake Reviews & How To Spot Them The Scourge Of The Web: Fake Reviews & How To Spot Them "User reviews" are actually a pretty recent phenomenon. Before the prevalence of the Internet, user reviews were called testimonials, and you’d only see them on TV commercials and product pages. Nowadays, anyone can write anything... Read More .

What You Should Do: If the listing is missing photos, you can ask the lister to take a few and send them to you. If you’re really suspicious, ask them to include a shot where they’re holding a piece of paper with your email address on it (to confirm that they aren’t pulling random photos from the web).

If they have poor grammar and spelling, tread carefully. It’s possible that they are legitimate so don’t brush them off outright, but do keep your eyes open for further red flags.

Disreputable Credit Checking Services

I recently made an inquiry about an apartment listing. The listing itself was a bit skeptical from the start, but it wasn’t too bad so I shot the lister an email for more information. Here’s what I got in return:

apartment-rental-scam-credit

Notice that they promise to give me what I want (a tour of the place) as long as I give them what they want first (an innocent credit check). This is a big scam lately and you should be on alert for it.

It works like this: they link you to a non-reputable credit score website (in my case, I’ve been linked to both efreescore.com and creditupdates.com) which will give you your credit report for $1. Most credit check fees for apartment listings cost between $10 and $50, so this feels like a deal.

What ends up happening is that you enter your credit card information (to pay the $1), but the service charges way more (usually around $30). Some people find success in disputing the charge, but it’s a lengthy and frustrating process because the service ignores nearly every attempt to establish communication.

What You Should Do: Use multiple web tools to check if links are safe 4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe 4 Quick Sites That Let You Check if Links Are Safe Read More before you click on anything, especially if those links appear in an email. In fact, the ideal case is that you should never click on links in an email 7 Important Email Security Tips You Should Know About 7 Important Email Security Tips You Should Know About Internet security is a topic that we all know to be important, but it often sits way back in the recesses of our minds, fooling ourselves into believing that "it won’t happen to me". Whether... Read More .

If the landlord wants you to use a particular checking service and you feel skeptical about it, ask them for an alternative. If they don’t have one, offer one yourself. Before using a service, search the web to see if others have used it to their satisfaction. Include “scam” or “fraud” in your query for best results.

Reluctant to Meet or Give Address

Every once in a while, you’ll run into an apartment listing that doesn’t actually include the location of the apartment. These shady listings might mention zip codes or nearby landmarks, maybe even a street intersection, but never the full address.

This is a huge red flag.

The reasoning behind this is quite predictable: “We used to include addresses but our units ended up being vandalized, so we stopped.” I’m not saying that this never happens, but it’s rare enough. After all, how many people browse Craigslist for the sole purpose of vandalizing vacant units?

apartment-rental-scam-meeting

The truth is, they can’t list an address because they don’t have an apartment to sell. Furthermore, if you ask to meet them in person, they’ll give one of a million reasons why they can’t. The lack of an address plus an unwillingness to meet is basically a megaphone shouting “SCAM! SCAM! SCAM!”

How is this a scam? Usually they’ll ask you to send in an application fee to “show that you’re serious”, and then they’ll cease communications.

What You Should Do: If you have to send in any amount of money before they’re willing to tell you the address or meet in person, give up and move on. There’s nothing else you can do.

Middleman for the Landlord

When hunting for apartments, one of the first things you should always do is get the name and contact information for the landlord and the property owner (if they’re different people). This is important for a few reasons.

But for now, it’s important to realize that the lister is not always the property manager. They could be a family member, a friend, a real estate agent, etc. If this is the case, ask for the property manager’s details even if you’re mainly going to be dealing with the lister.

apartment-rental-scam-records

For one, you can look through your local area’s property records to see if the given manager’s information matches the person who actually owns the building. If there’s a mismatch, it’s likely that the lister is trying to sell you a unit that they can’t actually sell.

But an even bigger red flag is if the lister tries to avoid giving you the landlord’s details. Maybe they’re “away on vacation” or “overseas for business”. Either way, they’ll try to force you into working with them and them only.

What You Should Do: Always look up property details to look for inconsistencies. If the landlord’s details are hard to come by, you should walk away and not look back.

After all, even if the landlord is actually away on business or vacation, it’s a sign of things to come. Do you want to rent a place from someone who’s hard to reach and handles issues through a middleman? That will just lead to a bunch of separate but equally aggravating problems down the line.

The Security Deposit Thief

If you fall for this last scam, you’re going to be in a world of hurt. While other apartment scams might only rip you off for between $30 to $100, falling for this one could drain a few thousand dollars from your bank account.

The scam works like this: someone with physical access to an apartment unit (e.g. the current tenant) will list it as vacant. The photos look nice, the location is great, and the price is reasonable. Dozens of people inquire about it, asking for tours, etc.

apartment-rental-scam-deposit

What ends up happening is that the lister agrees to rent the apartment to everyone who inquired. He asks for a three-month upfront deposit (first month, last month, and security) from everyone, and once all of that money is deposited into his bank account, he packs his things and skips town.

Everyone else is left in bewilderment.

What You Should Do: Again, make sure you check your local area’s property records to make sure that the person you’re dealing with is actually the manager of the property.

Furthermore, ask the lister for valid identification (e.g. driver’s license) and memorize or record as much of that information as you can. That way, if they do defraud you, you’ll have somewhere to start when seeking recourse.

Apartment Hunting Isn’t Easy!

These scams are everywhere, though they’re especially rampant on Craigslist (which is no surprise when you consider how many Craigslist scams Taking The Battle To Craigslist Scammers: How To Avoid Scams On Craigslist Taking The Battle To Craigslist Scammers: How To Avoid Scams On Craigslist Launched way back in 1995, Craigslist took the Internet world by storm with its innovative cross of classified ads with the web. But as with all Internet-based transactions, some users prefer to game the system... Read More are out there). The good news is that avoiding them is easy once you know what to spot, so keep your eyes open and don’t let your guard down.

If you’re having trouble finding a place, here are some tips for apartment searching How To Find The Perfect Apartment Online In The United States How To Find The Perfect Apartment Online In The United States Unfortunately, a new apartment has always been an arduous process. It’s hard to judge management based off a few minutes of interaction, and the fancy demo unit you’re shown could be the only one in... Read More and a few apartment hunting apps 3 Free Applications To Help You Find Your Next Apartment [iPhone - US Only] 3 Free Applications To Help You Find Your Next Apartment [iPhone - US Only] Looking for an apartment can be hard work. You need to find a place that is affordable, in a good area, nice looking and so many other things, that it can be overwhelming. Sure, a... Read More that might point you in the right direction.

Have you ever been scammed while looking for an apartment? What other signs should we treat as red flags? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!

Image Credits: hands and key Via Shutterstock, Credit History Via Shutterstock, Apartment Interior Via Shutterstock, Property Records Via Shutterstock, Apartment Deal Via Shutterstock

  1. Kimberly King
    November 4, 2016 at 11:35 am

    I think I've been scammed out of $225 already. I was checking on my application but the landlord isn't trying to answer my calls or texts. Can I go to the police? This is frustrating because I need somewhere to live by December!

  2. TPAC
    July 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    What kills me are the actual legit property managers/owners with an actual vacant unit, but they wanna collect as many application fees as they can before they actually rent it out to someone.....Ooooo...it boils my grits!!! No one has the time or MONEY for that BS!!! I'm looking for a place to freaking LIVE!!!!!!

  3. A. Megan
    July 15, 2016 at 2:51 am

    Thanks everyone for posting the emails you received! I got the same email from a Craigslist posting in Bloomington, IN, a few days ago from a "Beverly." I thought the email sounded strange and the fact that they gave me no other way to contact them, along with a few other total coincidences, made me suspicious. Finding your comments here confirmed the scam for me and prevented me from making a costly mistake.

  4. lucy
    June 29, 2016 at 1:10 am

    South Florida Hollywood area.
    Same email- Same scam :(

  5. Brandon
    June 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Here is a message that I received:

    Carley Hansen via amazonses.com

    Hi _______,

    Thank you for your interest in the property listed for rent. You were the second to e-mail from the ad. The first prospective tenant no longer had to move because of his home situation. So we give the opportunity to you. We are now prepared to rent with flexible terms and just finished all new renovations. We will work with you on move in date, lease length and security deposit.

    I understand you desire the exact address of the property but my husband does not want me divulge due to security reasons. We have had a string of break ins, squatters and thefts at our other properties. We would like to avoid that with this property because of the renovations that have cost plenty of money. You will be the first to move in with the renovations. That is why we want to confirm you have your latest report before we arrange a walk through.

    All utilities are priced into the lease along with garage parking spaces. The appliances in the kitchen as well as laundry room were just installed. You have the option to pick your paint color and flooring prior to your move in

    If you would like to set up an appointment, go to the link below and request a copy of your report. All of our tenants use this site because it is widely trusted. All you need to do is fill out the form and you get your report We aren't interested in specifics of your report, it's more of a formality to ensure you have rental history. You can get your report by CLICKING HERE

    Remember, print out the report and bring it to the tour.. Let me know when you have an updated version of your report. Then I'll schedule you for a showing.

    Thank you,
    Carley

    • Lanning
      November 30, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Exact same email in reply to my response to a craigslist ad in Olympia, WA. Word for word. I was a little suspicious because it was way too wordy - but I desperately want to dump my freeloading housemate and was not as cautious as usual. I actually clicked there - did the CreditUpdates.com report (for $1). When I called to cancel the monthly membership a couple of days later, the guy (Ivan he said his name was) tried to sell me on a "special deal" of $3.99 a month instead of $24.95. After saying, "no, no, no. I don't want any of the products you offer, I just want to cancel," I was given a confirmation number and received an email confirming. Now I'm just waiting to find out if huge charges show up on my card.
      F*ck!

  6. Someone who was scammed.
    June 23, 2016 at 12:39 am

    We just got scammed - I should have known when I couldn't find it on craigslist after I clicked on it once: http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/apa/5646951827.html

    It was taken down after 3+ hours.

    I inquired about the property and here's what it said:

    Hi Katrina,

    Thank you for your interest in the property listed for rent. You were the second to reach out from the ad. The first prospective tenant no longer had to move because of his home situation. So we give the opportunity to you. We are currently prepared to lease with flexible terms and just completed all new renovations. We will work together with you on move in date, lease length and security deposit.

    I know that you need the precise address of the property but my husband does not want me divulge due to security reasons. We have had a string of break ins, squatters and thefts at our other properties. We would like to prevent that with this property because of the renovations that have cost a great deal of money. You will be the first to move in with the renovations. That is why we want to confirm you have your latest report before we schedule a walk through.

    All utilities are priced into the lease along with garage parking spaces. The appliances in the kitchen and laundry room were just installed. You have the option to pick your paint color and flooring before your move in

    When you're ready for a personal appointment, then please go to the link below and grab your report. We use this site since it's it gives you 3 scores. Just fill out the form and indicate that you want the report. We are not concerned with any negative report items, it's more of a formality to ensure you have rental history. You can get your report by CLICKING HERE

    Keep in mind that you only have to bring your report to the tour. Please let me know when you grab your report. I can then schedule you for a showing of the place.

    See you soon,
    Marianne

    **********
    I figured credit report is pretty standard - so I gave them my personal info including my credit card. Fortunately my boyfriend told me hours later that it was a scam and had to act quickly. All my accounts have been flagged, my cards cancelled and I will be monitoring my account on the regular.

    I really do wish that people doing this are seeing that they aren't taking money from people from the 1% but the people who are trying to get by and be smart about their money and find good deals on necessities such as housing... can you blame someone for wanting to pay a lower rent? I wasn't cautious, I was naive and thought better of people... and now I know. I hope no one else falls for this. People getting caught for this should be punished appropriately.

    • Efrem
      July 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Hi Katrina,

      I actually did the same thing yesterday, which included giving them my social security # and I'm wondering how I can reverse that or if they can use it to steal my identity or something. What do you think I should do?

      I hope when they look at their lives in the grand scheme of eternity someday before they pass away, they realize only love mattered and how pity their acts were in order to improve for the better.

  7. Gretchen
    June 10, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Yes! Mine was on Craigslist and it was an apartment in Chicago as well! Ugh so frustrating!

  8. gretchen.woelfel
    June 8, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Unfortunately, I came across this article too late as I fell for the credit report scam. What do I do now?? Please help!! Below is the email I received.

    On Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 3:15 PM, Loretta Nicholson wrote:
    Hello ____,

    Thank you for your interest in the property listed for rent. You were the second to e-mail from the ad. The first prospective renter no longer had to move because of his home situation. So we give the opportunity to you. We just finished all new renovations and are currently ready to lease with flexible terms. We will work with you on move in date, lease security deposit and length.

    I know that you desire the exact address of the property but my husband does not want me divulge due to safety reasons. We have had a string of break-ins, squatters and thefts at our other properties. We want to prevent that with this property because of the renovations that have cost a great deal of money. You will be the first to move in with the renovations. That is why we want to confirm you have your latest report before we schedule a walk through.

    All utilities are priced into the lease along with garage parking spaces. The appliances in the kitchen as well as laundry room were just installed. You have the option to choose your paint color and flooring prior to your move in

    When you're ready to schedule an appointment to see the place, then please go to the link below to get your report. We use this site since it's it gives you 3 scores. All you need to do is fill out the form and you get your report We aren't interested in specifics of your report, it's more of a formality to ensure you have rental history. You can get your report by CLICKING HERE

    Remember, print out the report and bring it to the tour.. Once you let me know that you have your report ready, then I can personally schedule a walk through of the place.

    Thanks,
    Loretta

    • Zoe
      June 8, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Omg are you looking for houses in the Cincinnati/Clifton area because I got that EXACT email today from "Layla"!

      • Devon
        June 26, 2016 at 9:16 pm

        Got the same thing as well for a place in Beechmont. Glad I did some research before I replied.

    • anastasia
      June 8, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      I got this exact same email as well, also from Layla. This is so weird.

    • Luna
      June 10, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      I got this EXACT email as well for a place I was checking out via craigslist in Chicago. This one was named "Stacy" though.

    • Sam Hartwig
      June 20, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      I just got this exact same email! It was from an apartment ad on Craigslist for a place in La Crosse, WI! Except it was from a Linda. The response email name was different from Linda so that's what struck my suspicion. So glad I researched it before I did anything!

  9. Raul Delgado
    June 5, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Craigslist ads sometimes have wrong phone numbers etc. I like to use Google maps' street view to look for a publicly posted number on a sign and I usually can get in contact with the real apartment manager.

  10. Domo Whit
    June 1, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I received an email from an "owner of a rental property" that was identical to the pieces listed in this article.I was tempted to follow through on getting the credit report through "Credit Updates" but something (the Lord) told me to investigate and then I came across this article. Thank you for posting this article and saving me and others from having to repair the damage caused by scammers.I have listed the full email below to possibly help other renters in the future from being scammed.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Dear ____________,

    Thank you for your interest in the property listed for rent. You were the second to e-mail from the ad. The first prospective tenant no longer had to move because of his home situation. So we give the opportunity to you. We are now prepared to rent with flexible terms and just finished all new renovations. We will work together with you on move in date, lease length and security deposit.

    I know you need the precise address of the property but my husband does not want me divulge due to safety reasons. We have had a string of break ins, squatters and thefts at our other properties. We would like to avoid that with this property due to the renovations that have cost a great deal of money. You are going to be the first to move in with the renovations. That is why we want to confirm you have your updated report before we arrange a walk through.

    All utilities are priced into the lease along with garage parking spaces. The appliances in the kitchen and laundry room were just installed. You have the option to choose your paint color and flooring before your arrival

    When you want to come look at the place, then please visit the link below and grab your report. All of our tenants use this site because it is widely trusted. Just fill out the form and indicate that you want the report. We are not concerned with any negative report items, it's more of a formality to ensure you have rental history. You can get your report by CLICKING HERE

    Remember, print out the report and bring it to the tour.. Once you let me know that you have your report ready, then I can personally schedule a walk through of the place.

    Thank you,
    Monica

  11. Lisa
    May 23, 2016 at 12:46 am

    My son just almost lost money this way. I have never heard of these before. Him and his friend went to the place, they scammer told them to go in through the balcony, which was open.
    The owner said he was in Texas. They loved the place and sent him check stubs and id. Then the guy asked them to wire money. That was when they thought something was hinky.
    Luckily my son came home to talk to me and I looked up the property and there it was for double the price, triple the deposit and with a rental company.
    The scammer was still texting my son trying to get the money.
    What do we do now. He has check stubs and the DL from my son and our home phone number and a full application. I am very worried about identity theft now.

  12. cranky landlord
    April 9, 2016 at 1:02 am

    Craigslist has gotten unbearable. The majority of ads in the Los Angeles area are scams. As a landlord I am embarrassed to post in that sewer but have too since it still has lots of users. The scammers even stole an ad I had on Zillow and copied it word for word and the pictures I took too! Of course they posted it $400.00 less than what I was asking. Sent scammers an inquiry on the ad and got back same as the article with a link to a BS credit Co. I even got a renter upset because he saw a stolen ad of a unit like his was renting way less than he was paying but it was not true!

  13. NewsView
    April 7, 2016 at 1:43 am

    I think it gets worse than even this article illustrates, although it is an excellent jumping off point on what to look for.

    Just about anyone can post a website and aim it at a multi-family dwelling (complex) in any major city. Then do that for five or six more major markets. Then put up an online application — where you will not only pay a fee using your credit card, because they are legally entitled to collect a per-applicant credit report fee — and THEN share all your bank accounts, balances and social security for every single person 18 and up who will reside in the household (since most places now require married couples, even, to fill out separate applications).

    The problem is, both legitimate and illegitimate property management websites have put their applications online and so you may not suspect anything at all. And if the scam artist is really sophisticated, they may not sell off the identities they manage to collect this way until months or even years later so that the victim doesn't know where the identity theft really began.

    I think the presence of the Internet in the rental market calls for better oversight. We have the Better Business Bureau to rate (and help) with respect to businesses. We have Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover underlying any credit card issued by any legitimate lending institution. But we have no third-party certification for rental applications. Maybe it's about time these applications were standardized (standard issuer) the way credit cards, no matter how many banks there are out there, are backed only by a handful of easy-to-recognize institutions.

    I also think that the process of charging prospective tenants for credit checks should be handled not by the individual brokers, landlords and property management agencies but by a central clearing house. If you pay the fee to process an online application at all, it should not rely on the security level of the individual website (which, as we all know, anybody can throw up a website — and it doesn't mean it's been built to protect users' personally-identifiable information). Moreover, I think the law should be changed to allow tenants to supply their own credit reports (with some provision that the landlord can request a current report from a mainstream reporting agency). After all, not only does it cost money to apply for rental housing but each and every time a credit check is run it registers as an inquiry that can damage the applicants' credit report (which is not so insignificant when you consider that in very high-density areas, with a lot of demand, it may take dozens of rental applications before a would-be renter finds a place that accepts him/her).

    It's scary to consider that the "scam" can be as simple as collecting credit report fees or wire-transfer deposits for properties the scam artist has no right to advertise or as complex as putting up entire websites to advertise new or existing developments — with real photos and real addresses — whose main purpose is to solicit online applications that provide fraudsters with everything else they need to steal applicants' identities.

    Consumer protection laws haven't caught up with the times. There are too many avenues by which renters can become prey to identity thieves. We need applications that are not "served" through small-time websites that may or may not have current security certificates, we need the right of an applicant to supply his/her own credit report as a means of preventing too many damaging inquiries from separate entities (not the mention of accumulated expense when applying to multiple properties), and we need a third-party agency to certify (or license) anyone who posts a website or a listing advertising a property.

  14. TRSmith
    March 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    I am copying the email I got from a scammer I almost fell for. I am hoping other people will recognize this text or ones like it and not fall for it either. He used my first name, but I blanked it out below. Note that the English is pretty good, although a little off. He enclosed a rental agreement that looked pretty good except for a few things that were off as well. Careful everyone!

    Hi ___,

    Thanks for the email.

    Yes, This is a full single-use apartment not shared and April 1st, 2nd or 3rd move-in date works fine. The apartment lease booking form required to place your reservation is attached with this email. You are to fill it with your information and return a scanned copy of the filled form. The details required to send in the payment directly to the landlord are contained in the forms. After making the payment, you are to send in a scanned-copy of the payment confirmation slip along with the filled forms and your photo ID for documentation purpose and easy integration into the apartment's tenant database.

    Upon receipt of the forms and payment, arrangements will immediately be made to mail you the keys, receipt and tenancy ID as confirmation of your booking and the unit will be held in your name pending your arrival for moving in.

    Also, even as we initiate the process of removing this unit from the market now, do confirm the receipt of the lease form, as we look forward to your email of the filled forms, your photo ID and payment confirmation so we can confirm your reservation and also to a pleasant relationship with you during your entire stay in the apartment.

    Regards,
    Richard.

  15. Jane
    March 10, 2016 at 4:09 am

    I just saw an incredible deal on craigslist for an apartment that was way below the average price for the area. It had pictures. It was ok looking, not fantastic, but no for the price, was a steal. Of course, I emailed asking for cross streets so I could google it to see where the area was. They replied back that they couldn't give out cross streets because they had many break ins at their properties and wanted to avoid it. They also said they were only showing the apartment to people who could afford it, so there was a link to a credit report that I could get a credit report from and bring it to the appointment. It said the link was provided because that credit that company was reliable. Obviously, I never responded to the email, and promptly sent it to spam. I wanted to reply back some expletives, but I didn't. Even if it was legit, who would want to rent a place that had been vandalized several times? Then another place I called back told me they were an apartment locator and I had to pay $180 to see the apartments. I hung up on them.

  16. Bill
    December 25, 2015 at 1:44 am

    It it getting even more worse than before. These scammers are learning. They now use good english, they even have a website, they even have phone numbers (but they don't answer them)....and here is the kicker..... in the past they would end up having you pay by sending the money thru Western Union or Moneygram. The shocking thing is that they are now using real U.S. bank accounts.

    But they aren't real. They are opening up accounts online with banks...with stolen information and making up fake I.D.'s. I am in the rental business and I now see little, if any, red flags out there anymore. At least not to the normal person who is wanting a place. The scammers are renting out extended stay places, knowing that most renters aren't even in the town yet so they won't be asking to look at it. They are going to steal billions doing this, and the banks don't seem to be doing anything to protect people, since it is not bank money being lost.

    Craigslist doesn't care...the police don't care....and again, I myself am in the rental business and have followed this scam for years, and I now see no red flags. It is frightening.

  17. jbg2014email
    October 27, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Joel, I'm one of the naive ones that ran the credit check through credit update. What do you recommend that I do to protect myself? I cancelled the membership but now I'm concerned about future repercussions. Thanks!

  18. awful videos patrol
    September 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I recieved an email that is identical in verbage to the one quoted here. Indeed, it leads to the creditupdates website. I was fortunate that I had the immediate foresight not to pursue the fake apartment further. I went ahead and listed the scam on a few websites.

    The apartment was a $1150 2-bedroom in a location where the typical price is $1400. The too-good-to-be-true rule applied here.

  19. Howard A Pearce @HAPLibertarian
    June 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I remember when landlords used to keep the security deposit almost as a standard !

    People like myself had to take them to small claims court to get them.

    • Joel Lee
      July 11, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      That still goes on, at least in some areas. I count myself fortunate if I can get just a portion of my security deposit upon exit, even after I've left the place in spotless condition. The real pain is that small claims court is such a hassle that many will just eat the loss. I wish there was a better solution.

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