LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Moving is stressful enough as it is. Now, scammers are forcing renters to keep an extra eye out for dishonest listings.
Sometimes great listings for good-looking homes at good-looking prices are simply too good to be true. Although the website may look legitimate, the real photos and descriptions are often stolen from other websites to lure movers in. Scammers make these potential renters feel like they have to act fast to get the best deal, claiming you can view the property once a deposit is made.
Emily Fontenot with the BBB of Acadiana says scammers can use almost any social media to run this scam, as long as they can post and communicate with potential victims. In the end the result is always the same. The BBB reports that renters have lost thousands paying fees to hold apartments, make deposits, and first month’s rent.
“They keep in touch with messages and once the consumer provides that fee or the money in however they would want that money, they disappear,” Fontenot tells News 10.
Here are some tips to avoid this scam:
- Watch out for deals that are too good. Scammers lure you in by promising low rents, extra amenities, and a great location.
- Search online for similar properties. Do a quick search for the listing, scammer’s email address, or phone number.
- See the property in person. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen.
- Don’t pay a stranger with apps, especially cash transfer apps. Many scammers now ask for payments through peer-to-peer apps instead of wired funds or prepaid debit/gift cards. Only use these apps with people you know.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.