Fake Rental Scam

If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is. People are posing as homeowners and real estate agents to collect payments from unsuspecting apartment seekers, without owning the listings or premises. These transactions can occur in person, by phone, or email, with the initial contact often made through online postings on third-party websites like Facebook.

How the Scam Works:

Fake Listings: Scammers post attractive rental ads with photos of homes that are either not for rent or don’t exist.

Too Good to Be True: These listings often feature below-market prices to lure in potential renters quickly.

Urgency and Pressure: They create a sense of urgency, insisting you must act fast to secure the rental.

Payment Requests: They ask for money upfront, usually through untraceable methods like wire transfers or prepaid debit cards, claiming it’s for a security deposit or first month’s rent.

Red Flags to Watch For:

Unrealistically Low Prices: If the rent seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Lack of Access: Scammers often claim they can’t show the property in person due to being out of town or having other excuses.

Unverifiable Owners: They avoid face-to-face interactions and provide fake contact information.

Payment via Untraceable Methods: Be cautious if asked to pay through wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, or other non-traditional methods.

How to Protect Yourself:

Visit in Person: Never rent a property without seeing it in person. If the landlord can’t show you the property, it’s a red flag.

Don’t Rush: Scammers thrive on creating urgency. Take your time to make a well-informed decision.

Avoid Advance Payments: Never give an advance payment before viewing the property in person.

Secure Payment Methods: Do not wire money or use Green Dot MoneyPak as a form of payment.

Personal Information: Do not complete applications providing personal information before viewing the property.

Research The Agent (if there is one): Verify the legitimacy of the listing agent and the address through online searches or the Better Business Bureau.

Check Ownership: Use online tools like ACRIS to verify that the person you’re dealing with is the actual owner.

Report it:

Immediately report a theft or suspicious activity to the NYPD by calling 911.

If you see a suspicious listing, report it to the platform and contact us.