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House and apartment hunting can be a stressful venture. It’s hard enough trying to find the best place that meets your needs and matches your budget; tack on the potential to get scammed for something that sounds too good to be true, and it’s a recipe for disaster. In this series of posts, we’re going to dive deeper into the common rental scams that are happening right now. Identifying these red flags can prevent you from a making a huge mistake, and potentially losing tons of money. When you find the right place, don’t forget to protect your dwelling with a Delaware Renters Insurance policy.

Free credit report offerings.

It’s to be expected that the landlord will want to check your credit prior to approving an application. However, if this “free” credit check is a link to an email, which is likely malware or spyware, you can safely assume the landlord is looking to steal your personal information and pocket the money himself.

If a renter is happy to rent to anyone with a very poor credit rating (especially if they mention this in their ad or their emails), that is a big red flag. It’s possible that a bad credit rating won’t get in the way of a good rental, but look before you leap. If a credit check is required, always make sure you have been able to see the unit and have met the landlord first, explains NBC.

Asking for money up front.

You can also expect to pay a deposit and your first month’s rent when you move into a new place. However, hang on to your money until you’re sure about the place and you are confident you aren’t involved in some sort of scam. Ads that require money to be sent via MoneyGram or Western Union are red flags – steer clear of them.

Strange messages.

Getting in touch with your potential landlord is a must before seeing the place. Ask a specific and relevant questions and see what kind of response you get. If you receive one that does not address you specifically or one that has excessive typos, improper capitalization, and other errors, this could indicate they are using a template for scamming people.

Fake photos or lack of photos.

If the house or apartment is great, chances are the landlord will want to showcase that. However, even great photos can be stolen from real estate websites to advertise homes that are for sale, but not for lease. Search Google for the address to see if the property is listed elsewhere, such as sites like Zillow or Trulia. If in doubt, call the real estate agency listed and find out if the home is really being rented. Also check the photos listed – do they neglect to display an important feature (the kitchen or the bathroom, for instance)? Try asking the poster of the original ad about it; it might weed out scammers.

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.