PORTLAND, Ore. — It’s back! There’s been a resurgence in the Craigslist rental scam.
A growing number of consumers report scammers trying to take advantage of Portland’s tight real estate market but offering rental properties that are too good to be true.
So here are a few tips to help avoid a rental scam listing on Craigslist:
Where are the photos?
Most legitimate rental listings have a nice gallery of photos showing the home or apartment, inside and out. They also list the address. If that information isn’t included in the listing- be cautious.
Check the email
Many listings on Craigslist don’t include phone numbers, so you begin communication by email. If the landlord’s email address looks odd, think twice. Scammers often use auto-generated email accounts.
Scrutinize the description
Scammers posing as landlords often provide way too much information about themselves. They sometimes share sob stories about their families and personal information that most people would never include in a rental ad. Also, look out for emails with poor or broken English. Many scammers are based overseas.
Demand to see the property
You want to go inside. Take a look. Most scammers on Craigslist don’t want to meet you in person or show you the property.
Do your research
Scammers often lift photos and descriptions of real estate listings and post them for rent on Craigslist. Use a reverse search on Google to establish if a photo has been posted somewhere else.
If you become involved in a rental scam:
- Call the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center toll-free hotline: 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)