In a report by Spencer Evening World as reported in Florida Realtors, fake rental listings are on the rise. Forty-three percent of renters say they saw fake listings during their search for a rental home. The FBI found more than 37 million dollars in losses associated with fraud complaints that include the word “rent.” In the most common type of rental scam, those perpetrating the fraud copy the photo and description of the property, post it online with their own contact information and try to get a deposit and first month’s rent from the renter. Typically the perpetrators communicate only by email or text. Many renters look for listings on Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, Apartments.com, Homes.com, Realtor.com, Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.com, despite efforts of these companies to keep those fraudulent listings off their sites.
Victims of a rental scam should report it to the local police, the Better Business Bureau at 317-488-2222, report it to the FBI’s site of www.ic3.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-FTC-Help.