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Tip #139: Watch Your Back

If you use Craigslist for your rental ads, you will want to stay extra vigilant to avoid a wave a crime that can target landlords.

Be careful with any “applicant” who is from out of town or overseas and who wants to rent your property sight unseen. Criminals will send money to the landlord to secure the lease, and then a few days later write to say there is an emergency, and ask for the money back.  This appears legitimate, but after you refund the money, the bank may discover that the funds were transferred fraudulently, and back the transaction out of your account, leaving you with an out-of-pocket loss.

Even if an applicant isn’t trying something that sinister, they may ask to transact with you electronically in order to avoid meeting in person. That’s a risky way to fill a vacancy. The better choice is to communicate over the phone and in person.

See last weeks Landlord Quick Tip.

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  • D. Kydd

    I get this one EVERY time I post a new ad.

    My is ###$% and I am lokking to rent a place to live. I am a young professional and will be needing to move ASAP. I am willing to pay first and last months rent. I am very responsible and open to any kind of lease. I am a humanitarian worker and was posted on a new job in your area. I will be glad if I could hear back from you sooner. Thank you.

  • Sally Martin

    I had a very suspicious response to my rental ad. The writer claimed to work for Apex Insurance Inc. He was moving to my state from the UK. I was suspicious because I thought companies in the UK were LTD, not Inc. So, I googled Apex Insurance and found the website called Let’s Get the Craigslist Scammer. Sure enough, there were letters virtually identical the ones I got. He wanted to send me money, and I was to pay the interior decorators out of the proceeds.

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