How do I avoid a scam?
We love the convenience of shopping online for an apartment, but it's important to keep an eye out for scams and fraud. Apartments.com works hard to ensure that you have a positive experience using our site, but we cannot guarantee that our sites are 100 percent free from false or fraudulent listings.
That being said, there are a few easy ways to ensure that a listing has been verified by Apartments.com.
First, look in the header. Most listings will have a verified listing badge in the header. This badge ensures that the property has been run through CoStar’s listing verification process. The badge will look like this:
While having the verified listing badge is the best method to make sure that a listing is valid, another way to ensure that a listing is legit is to verify the contact information of the landlord/rental management company. The rental management company/landlord's name should be clearly stated in the header along with the address or name of the property. The listing page should also have a Contact this Property section on the right side of the page. The phone number and leasing hours of the property should be stated.
Common Red Flags
- Rent offered below market. Scammers know that innocent renters will be less cautious if they are motivated to close quickly on a good deal. Be weary of prices too good to be true.
- Request to wire money. Legitimate landlords do not ask renters to wire money to any account, especially an account located abroad. They also don't ask for money by Western Union, MoneyGram or other money transfer services.
- Request to use another listing service or escrow account to transfer money. Scammers may impersonate legitimate listings services, like AirBnB or HomeAway, or request that money is sent to an escrow account to make renters believe they are dealing with a legitimate entity.
- Dramatic landlord story. The landlord has received a job assignment abroad and must rent the unit ASAP. You are invited to drive by the building, but no one can show it to you because everyone is already living abroad. And you need to commit in the next 24 hours because dozens of people are waiting to sign the lease. A legitimate landlord will meet you in person and allow you to tour the property before asking for a deposit to secure the rental.
- Can’t or won’t meet in person. For whatever reason, the landlord/agent refuses to meet you in person at the property. They may even send you an access code to unlock an electronic lockbox to gain entry by yourself to the house, condo or apartment you are looking to rent.
For additional information, insight and tips on how to avoid scams, please visit Apartments.com: Avoid Scams and Fraud.