The Market

Tell-tale signs that the rental listing is a scam

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | September 23, 2015 - 3:59PM

In New York City, horror stories abound about renters getting conned into believing they’re getting a great deal on a place (in fact we just covered some earlier this week). Those who get duped often happily hand over their money—and a lot of it at that—only to find out that no such place ever existed and their cash is long gone, as is the "broker" who was working with them. So how can you keep from being swindled? Learn here.

What are some of the most common rental scams?

  • A scammer tries to get you to rent an apartment that doesn’t actually belong to him.
  • Or, he steals the listing info from another random apartment listing and tries to get you to rent the place sight unseen.
  • Or, the person poses as a real estate agent, holds an open house and collects non-refundable application fees.

Signs that it’s probably a scam

  • You’re asked to give cash or wire money.
  • High pressure tactics.
  • The broker seems too casual (such as not seeming to care about checking your credit) or too nervous or too sleazy. Trust your gut!
  • The apartment is too good to be true.

How can you protect yourself?

  • Never ever agree to rent a place sight unseen.
  • Don’t hand over any money before getting and trying keys first.
  • Don’t give more than a month’s rent in advance.
  • Google the names and addresses of everyone involved to make sure everything’s on the up and up.

For more, read “How not to get scammed on a NYC rental.”

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


PSA: Rental scams are real. And not just on Craigslist

11 reasons why that apartment is too good to be true

Craigslist scam buster: Check before handing over the cash

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