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8 Red Flags to Help You Spot a Rental Scam

With just about every rental search beginning online these days, it’s a given that con artists will try to take advantage of eager consumers. Combine fake listings with rental brokers looking to pull bait-and-switch operations with rentals of lower quality or higher rent, and you’ll have a hard time believing which listings are real.

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“You’re going about this search, and let’s say half your time is being spent on this type of fake listing,” says Ori Goldman, CEO and co-founder of Loftey, an apartment rental agency in New York City. Goldman and his brothers launched the company in 2015 to combat the number of fake listings online, offer a free service to consumers and help people secure a rent reduction or free move.

The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about rental listing scams as a common danger on its website, instructing individuals to report suspected scams to the site the listing was posted on, as well as local law enforcement and the FTC.

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Major red flags that can help you identify rental scams include:

— The listing photos have an MLS watermark.

— The listing details are vague.

— They don’t want to show you the place first.

— They’re ready to make a deal with no background info.

— They’re out of the country.

— They want you to sign before seeing anything.

— The asking rent doesn’t match up.

— They instruct you to wire money.

The Listing Photos Have an MLS Watermark

If the rental listing’s…

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