6 Ways for Landlords to Avoid Apartment Rental Scams
In the age of technology, we need to watch out for more than burglars and thieves. Identity thieves, hackers and social media predators have made us much more careful of the information we make available in our networks, and this should carry over to your rental business as well. Scammers can come in any form, and can be tricky to catch. Here are 6 tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a hoax.
1. Ask for identification. Your primary mode of communication may be by e-mail or phone, but always meet in person and check their identification before closing the lease or exchanging valuable personal information.
2. Know where you listings are posted. Many sites will pick up the ads you place in the newspaper or online, so stay informed on who is re-listing your properties. Google Alerts is a useful tool to help you keep track of your postings.
3. Screen your potential tenant. Ask for references. Talking to previous roommates, landlords or employers will help you get a good idea of whether or not the person is trustworthy.
4. Run a credit and background check. In addition to checking for a criminal background, use a search engine or social media site to look up their name and phone number.
5. Avoid wire transfer payments and cashier’s checks. Both are commonly used in scams since wire transfers are hard to trace and cashier’s checks are hard to identify as fraudulent.
6. Don’t accept an overpayment. Many landlord scams involve someone paying more than is required. When what they’re offering sounds too good to be true, like paying several months in advance, be wary.