Profile picture for Nigel Chapman

Rental Scams

As a real estate broker I am seeing more and more rental scams. Unknown people are taking our photos from websites and reposting the home as a rental. I have seen some of the emails where the scammer has an email address appearing to be the seller - sellername23@email.com for example. 

If you are looking to rent PLEASE be careful, especially at this time of year when we are getting tax returns and excited to get a new home. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Here is an example of an email from scammer to potential tenant "we need a responsible individual/family that is neat to take care of our house as if it were theirs. Our home is still active as for sale house, but we had a change of mind recently in renting it out ourselves because of the bad experience we had from our Agent." OR "We will be willing to rent our house to any person/family that is willing to assure us of taking absolute care of our home, at least making sure that our home is kept neat and always pay their rent on time especially now that we are not around."

If you are unsure, search the address and see if it is listed for sale, call the listing agent and ask if it is available for rent. You will be surprised how legitimate some of these scams might seem. Good luck with your home search!!

Unfortunately I cannot help you find a rental, but if you are looking to purchase a home on contract or regular mortgage, please give me a call - I would love to help.

Nigel Chapman
Broker Associate
RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts
Des Moines Metro, Iowa.
[contact information deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]

Licensed to sell Real Estate in Iowa
  • March 01 2013 - Des Moines
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
Zillow has an excellent FAQ on rental scams.

It must be a lucrative occupation.  For a few minutes of computer time, bring in a few thousand dollars!

  • March 01 2013
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Profile picture for Nigel Chapman
Thanks for the link! That covers exactly what is happening here. Hopefully people will read it and save some money. I read the emails and it looked so real I called my own seller to see what was going on! :-)
  • March 01 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Every rental on Zillow has a statement just above the address like this (in a yellow box):

Beware of rental scams! Wire transfers and long-distance inquiries are red flags. More info

I hope people are reading it.  certainly there have been less complaints on Advice over the last few months.

  • March 01 2013
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Profile picture for ali4mac
The scammer I am experiencing right now is advertising through Zillow and using a "Zillow bank account" as the source to send the deposit to! Is Zillow going to take the ad down?
  • March 08 2013
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