Avoiding Rental Scams: Credit Check Schemes

In our last post, we went over some of the most common rental scams and how to avoid them. As most apartment and house hunters start their search online, it leaves plenty of room for opportunity for people to scam them. However, being cognizant of these scams can save you time and money, which is why we’re going to dive deeper into how to avoid them – especially the kind that offer deals that are too good to be true. Most importantly, when you find the right place, don’t forget to protect your dwelling with a Delaware Renters Insurance policy.

Credit check schemes.

As a renter, you can expect to provide your credit score to the landlord or leasing office where you’re applying to live. While you might want to be prompt and complete a “free” credit score check before seeing the place, this is a red flag. If a landlord or ad requests this, don’t do it.

Know what to expect.

According to Nerd Wallet, landlords may check your credit before they rent, but that typically comes after you have seen the unit and turned in an application. And the landlord can’t check your credit without your permission, which is usually included as part of the application; Ask if the landlord’s credit check will count as a “hard inquiry,” because those take a few points off your score. It’s a good idea to know your credit standing before you apply, especially if a landlord has a minimum score requirement. That way, you can avoid paying an application fee and losing a few points off your score when you’re not likely to qualify.

Bear in mind that specific tenant-checks provide more detailed information and can vary from the general credit score you might have obtained yourself.

Know what’s free and legitimate.

There are plenty of rental sites that make it easier to search for a place. However, there have been various Craigslist schemes that caused over 100,000 to be out of a place to live and out of money. This scheme required applicants to sign up for a “free” credit score check through a link to a website titled Credit Bureau Center. Next, the applicants would enter their information and be unknowingly signing up for a monthly fee, and there was no legitimate ad or landlord to contact.

While the Federal Trade Commission has since put an end to these scams, renters should be mindful when applying for apartments online – especially Craigslist. Remember, never submit a credit check before seeing the unit in person!

About IFS Insurance

At IFS Insurance, we specialize in protecting homeowners and renters throughout Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Our quality solutions and commitment to excellence has allowed us to serve these states for over 50 years. For more information about our products, we invite you to contact us today at (800) 598-0420.

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