Protect Yourself as An International Student: How to Spot and Avoid Rental Scams

May 19, 2023

Renting a property can be a daunting experience, especially when rental scams are on the rise. Scammers use various tactics to trick renters into giving them money for properties that do not exist or are not available for rent. However, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and avoid being scammed.

✅ Firstly, do your research on the landlord or property manager. Look for reviews and ratings online, check if they have a website or social media presence, and verify that the information is consistent. Be cautious if there is no information available or if the information seems suspicious.

✅ Secondly, beware of deals that seem too good to be true. If a rental listing advertises a luxurious property at a bargain price, it is likely a scam. Always compare the price with other similar rentals in the area to make sure it is reasonable.

✅ Thirdly, it's important to avoid wiring money or paying in cash before you view the place in person. Scammers often ask for payment via these methods because they are difficult to trace and recover if the transaction turns out to be fraudulent. Instead, consider using a payment method that offers some level of protection, such as a credit card or a payment app like PayPal.

If you're unable to view the rental property yourself, you can always book a scout from ScoutBees! Our scouts can help you view and vet the rental place on your behalf, ensuring that you're not falling victim to a rental scam.

Remember, never send money to someone you haven’t met in person or who hasn’t shown you the rental property. Taking the necessary precautions and being vigilant can save you from significant financial loss and emotional stress in the long run.

✅ Fourthly, check for signs of professional property management. Legitimate rental properties are typically professionally managed and will have high-quality photos, detailed descriptions, and clear contact information for the property manager. If the listing lacks these signs, it may be a scam.

✅ Fifthly, verify the ownership of the property. Scammers often list properties that they do not own, so it is essential to verify the ownership of the property before signing a lease or making any payment. Check public records or contact the county assessor's office to confirm the ownership.

Lastly, trust your instincts. If something seems off about a rental listing or the landlord or property manager seems unprofessional, proceed with caution. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Rental scams are a significant problem for renters, but by following these tips, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to a scam. Remember to research the landlord, beware of deals that seem too good to be true, avoid wiring money or paying in cash, check for signs of professional property management, verify the ownership of the property, and trust your instincts. Stay safe and happy renting!

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