Rental scams are out there! In this video Ben goes over what a rental scam is and how to protect yourself from scammers.
Hijacked Listings: A listed rental in the MLS that the scammer puts on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or similar to act as the property manager.
Phantom Listing: A scammer takes a FOR SALE property and advertises it FOR LEASE. These properties are not for lease and you are dealing directly with a scammer. If you google the property address and see it listed for sale, its a scam rental.
Application Fee Scam: Someone takes an active for lease listing and copies it to Facebook Marketplace or similar and tries to get you to put your application and pay your application fee before seeing it. They take your application fee and are gone.
If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you are dealing with a reputable company, and not someone acting like they are the property manager or landlord. If you cannot go walk the property, then put in your application fee, then pay your deposit and rent, you are dealing with a scammer.
If they are asking for payment through cashapp or similar, consider that a red flag. Many landlords will take Zelle, but only once you've been established as a tenant.
If they tell you to damage the lock and replace it, consider that a red flag. No property owner is going to start by telling you to damage the property.
If you are not using a professional to find a rental, be sure the owners name matches the public records of the property, and get a copy of their ID to make sure they are who they say they are.