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Odds are, if you are in the residential rental property world, you have heard or know an investor who has been scammed by one of the internet dirt-bags.
This is nothing new. Remember the online scam where the victim is sent an email from who knows where, reporting they have won or inherited a billion dollars? But in order to claim it, the victim must pay for the processing fees and government stamps, etc.
You and I both say “there’s no way anyone with any sense would fall for this.” But Guess What? It is still happening every day with normal folks. These scammers would NOT be doing this if it did not work.
Here is how I know it is still happening and the scammers are still getting money from victims. My banker told me just a few weeks ago, he gets one or two customers a week who want to wire money to these scammers. Unbelievable. The scams continue.
Even as a retired Louisville Police detective, I have been scammed on several of my rentals. Let me share with you how it works.
The scammer surfs the internet for houses for rent. They find an unlimited supply of homes for rent on various websites from www.VistaKY.com, www.TenantFinderService.com, www.RentalHouses.com, www.Zillow.com, www.Craigslist.org and many more.
They find your rental house to target. The address is 123 Main St., Louisville, Ky 40207. It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with finished basement and 2 car attached garage. The rent for this home is $1200.
Here is what usually happens in this rental property scam.
STEP 1: After finding your target property, they download your all of your photos and details about this property from the online source they viewed. Think about this for a moment. The scammer has everything you have entered on the internet for the public to view. PLUS, most of the time they can use Google Maps to drive down the street, see what is on the corner (Walgreen’s, McD’s, etc) and the scammer can describe your rental and the neighborhood in great detail.
STEP 2: The scammer enters ALL of the information on your rental by “Stealing and Pasting” into a CraigsList.com Ad or any other website allowing investors to enter rental properties for free. The scammer lists the rent for your home at $899 which is a bargain for your rental home.
STEP 3: The Scammer’s ad will always have some kind of B.S. story about them being an “Out of Town Owner.” Some times they request a deposit up front and they will give them the key to see the home after receiving their money. They also inform the interested potential tenant that they have hired a local company to help get it rented and you might see their sign in the yard. Scammer tells them he is not satisfied with their service and he just decided to rent it himself or herself.
STEP 4: Unfortunately, many times the applicants actually send money to the scammers and wait for the key to the house. After receiving no response, these folks then call the number on the yard sign and complain to the real owner (YOU) they want their money back. Don’t laugh, this is true.
You are totally blind-sided when you get this call. You are furious, ticked off, and want to find out exactly what is going on with your rental. Your jaw drops and you want to do something, take action now to stop it now.
What Can You Really Do? Think about it. Can you call the police? OK, what will the police do after hearing your story. First of all, you are NOT the victim. Your potential applicants are the victim. Who is going to pay for this? Who will get locked up and go to jail? Good Luck!
So what is a poor investor to do?
Here is your Best Tool To Prevent Your Leads from Being Scammed. It is simple and easy.
Your solution is shown below. Get some bright neon yellow paper and print.
Print 2 or 3 copies and place several on the inside of the front windows of your vacant rental and I promise, this will definitely get the attention of your prospective applicants.
To Your Continued $uccess,