Beware of rental housing scams

Published 2:00 pm Friday, August 12, 2022

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Renting a home or apartment is a big expense that could be an even bigger one if the rental is a scam. Criminals copy legitimate listings and look for easy cash by collecting the first month’s rent, deposit and application fees and then bolt before handing over the keys, according to AARP. Numerous versions of rental frauds abound – some are bait-and-switch while others will attempt to rent out properties that are already leased or otherwise unavailable.

These fake rental schemes happen every year and would-be renters are losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. When renting a place, watch out for scammers who ask you to sign before seeing anything or request payment via wire transfer, peer to peer apps or cash. Prospective tenants must research the property and owner and read agreements carefully.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 and speak to trained staff or volunteers for help with a fraud encounter.