Phoenix (3TV / CBS 5) — Rents here in the Phoenix Metro area are higher than ever. In fact, the average rent for two bedrooms has risen 24% from last year to about $ 1,610 per month. It creates a great opportunity for scammers to strip you off.
You can find all kinds of rental housing by combing on the internet. “It sells for $ 1,100 a month,” said Gary Harper of On Your Side, pointing to a cheap home for rent online. “Wow, this is only $ 900,” he said, surprised by the small amount.
Price is too low
But how can you determine which rent is legal or fraudulent? Now, advertising with low rent is a danger signal. For example, On Your Side found an ad showing that a five-bedroom, 2,643-square-foot home could be rented for only $ 1,000. So On Your Side chose to investigate the homes and chose four other homes with cheaper rents, so they could be investigated as well.
Will they be a scam? To find out, I called my phone number and asked for information. “I’m calling to rent your house,” Harper asked the man on the other side of the line. “Did you find it on Craigslist or Facebook?” He asked. “It was on Craigslist,” Harper replied. It turns out that the man with a strong accent was a scammer. And many of the others we called turned out to be fraudulent. I’ll quickly explain how OnYourSide found it.
Legal companies fight back
But first, legitimate rental companies and homeowners have been trying to stop scammers for years. And now they are doing their best to expose them. Stephanie Sedlak uses Opendoor. She tells On Your Side that scammers are known for copying photos of homes they find online and reposting them as “for rent.” They then advertise it at very low rent, seduce unsuspecting victims, and persuade them to send security deposits and personal information. “Are people really falling into it?” Harper asked her. “Unfortunately they are,” Sedlak replied.
As a result, Opendoor and other legitimate businesses are now on the home site “This home is for sale.” Non-rental “and” This home is on Craigslist, Backpage, or other similar websites. If you find it listed, it’s a scam. “
For photos that the scammers cut and pasted themselves, Opendoor is currently using the watermark “This house is for sale, not for rent,” and the scammers will repost the photos as rentals. That is almost impossible. “It’s very difficult for a scammer to retrieve or crop a photo because it’s a very clear watermark that spans the entire photo.”
Other reputable companies also put their names in ads to make it harder for scammers to steal. But as On Your Side discovered, the scammers simply cut out the name and reposted the photo anyway.
Returning to the scammers we called, they all had out-of-state area codes and thick accents. The house they claimed to rent was very cheap. And finally, they first requested my personal information before providing their so-called rental address. “What is your credit score?” Conman asked Harper. To confirm the information, they first requested Harper’s personal information, such as his social security number, before providing the so-called property address. “Can you tell me your address first and at least drive past and look out first?” Harper asked. At that time, the scammer became frustrated and hung up.
In another conversation, another scammer emailed me a link that he was supposed to click to allow me to perform my credit as well. “Do I need to provide my Social Security number?” Harper asked. “Yes,” the scammer replied. “But this information helps us to see it, is it okay?” Needless to say, I didn’t click the link. But it shows you how far these comments go to get your personal information, or persuade you to send money to secure a home.
For the five homes we chose to check out, we found that their ads weren’t listed by the actual owners or real estate management companies, so they all turned out to be fraudulent. “Are you surprised at what we found?” Harper asked Sedlak of Opendoor. “I’m not surprised at all. You know that scammers are finding all the kids on how to manipulate consumers. If you find a rental home from the beginning, you have to investigate “Mr. Sedrac says.
Another danger signal to watch out for is if you can’t meet someone directly about renting a place, or if you send a security deposit and they offer to send you a key, it could be a scam. The sex is high.
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