If you don’t want to fall prey to a rental scam, here are a few things to keep in mind.

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It’s time to raise awareness about an important issue plaguing the rental community here in San Francisco: real estate scams. 

I bring this up because I know someone who had a few classmates recently lose out on $30,000 when they tried renting a home together. During the rental process, they were given faulty wiring instructions by scammers and ended up wiring that sum to a foreign country. After they realized what happened, they tried filing a police report, but there was nothing that could be done, and the money was never recovered.  

$30,000 is a lot of money to lose out on, so if you don’t want the same thing happening to you, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for rental properties. 

First, don’t forget to be skeptical of homes that look too good to be true. If a listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. Sometimes, the prices of these listings are much lower than what the market is actually asking for them. 

Also, the “owner” of the property might make excuses not to meet you in person because, obviously, they don’t want to get caught. Instead, they’ll promise to send you the keys if everything about the transaction looks good. They also might send you a contract to lure you in further, or send you a virtual tour of the property online. 

If someone doesn’t want to meet you in person and prefers that you wire them money, that’s the biggest telltale sign that you’re being scammed. The real owner of an actual listing will always meet you in person and show you around their property personally. They’re also much more likely to ask for a deposit check rather than ask you to wire money. 

A good way to verify whether a listing is legitimate is to check the name of the homeowner you’re in contact with via public tax records. If their name doesn’t show up in these records, the listing is a scam. 

If you’d like to know more about how to avoid being scammed or you have any other real estate questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to speak with you.