Avoid Rental Scams

How to Detect a Rental Scam

  • Rental amount is unusually low in comparison to the average rates for the area
  • Landlord is unable to show you the rental
  • Landlord claims to be out of town, state, or country
  • There is a sense of urgency
  • There are requests made of advanced payments through wiring, cashier’s check, money order, escrow service, Western Union, MoneyGram, or to load a Visa card
  • Landlord does not ask for rental application or reference check
  • A third party is involved
  • Ad and/or correspondence has misspellings
  • Excessive use of capitalization
  • E-mail is from a free e-mail provider such as yahoo or gmail
  • A landlord claims to own a unit in an apartment complex

 How to Avoid a Rental Scam

  • Look at the inside of the property with the owner/manager
  • Never wire money, nor pay money in advance of seeing the rental
  • Always meet the landlord or property manager in person before signing rental documents or sending money
  • Never give out bank account information
  • Call the county assessor’s office to look up property ownership at (831) 454-2002
  • Do a web search of the landlord’s name

 How to Report a Rental Scam

  • Call the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center toll-free hotline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
  • FTC online complaint form: ftccomplaintassistant.gov
  • Internet Crime Complaint Center: ic3.gov

Read more information about rental scams