I almost fell for a rental scam yesterday and I’m wondering how to protect myself going forward.
I have been looking for a room for rent. Not easy since availability is low here and prices are very high. I saw a listing on Craigslist for a room for rent in an area I like and the room for rent was on the low end of market rate. So I contacted them via phone and they responded immediately.
Warning sign #1 — They (a middle aged couple) claimed to be moving in to this condo December 1st. They didn’t live there yet.
Warning sign #2 — They were very eager to meet me. Usually I have to pursue the listing; most do not reply and those that do are cautious and hesitant. These people seemed like they were trying to sell me on the place already.
Warning sign #3 — They asked for only a small deposit, not the regular 1st + last + deposit.
Waning sign #4 — They asked me to meet them at their current apartment, not the place I was to rent.
This should have been enough warnings but it wasn’t. I sensed something however, so I did some online research and did find that they were who they said they were. Still was uneasy and I couldn’t figure out why.
They seemed like very nice people in person, but I was greeted by several more alarming red flags:
— I wouldn’t be able to see the place before moving in; they claimed the current tenant was moving out same day.
— They didn’t want a credit check or background check or proof of income. Just two references. They seemed to trust me immediately and invited me to move in already.
— They said they were renting from family so there was no lease I could view.
And most concerning, they had already drawn up a crude lease agreement that was only one page long. I told them that I was expecting a more formal agreement that would be notarized. Immediately they offered to call their friend that was a notary. They wanted me to sign the lease agreement and give them the deposit right there. I said I would contact them tomorrow.
After I discussed my concerns with my friend I realized that I just narrowly escaped getting scammed. It’s very disheartening. I’m supposed to look at another room today but now I’m scared that I won’t notice warning signs. I read the rental scam page but it didn’t cover this situation…so I’m wondering what other warning signs I should be looking for?
The content was posted by sdautist on 2021-11-10 17:51:21 via reddit