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A-partment Hunting We Will Go

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Apartment hunting for the perfect place to live? As you scan rental ads in newspapers, or on websites or listservs, remember that some ads may not be legit.  

Scammers regularly advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available. They also clone actual rental listings and then change the contact and email information, placing the altered ads in numerous newspapers or websites to trick as many people as they can out of money. Often, the scam comes to light too late.  

You can avoid falling for rental listing scams by remembering these tips:

  • Never wire money or send a check to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you’ve never seen. If you can’t meet the landlord in person because she’s living or traveling out of the country – and if you can’t see the actual apartment before you pay application fees, a security deposit, or sign a lease – keep looking. Wiring money is the same as sending cash – once you send it, you can’t get it back.
  • Don’t be rushed into a decision. If you receive an email pressuring you to make an on-the-spot decision for a rental, ignore it and move on. It could be a red flag.
  • The lower the price for a premium listing, the more likely it’s a scam. Below-market rent for a spectacular apartment in a great location with a million-dollar view? Rip-off artists love to attract people’s interest by making good enough to be true promises.
  • If you place an ad looking for a tenant to rent your property, be aware of scams involving fake checks. A bogus renter could reply to your ad saying they have a cashier’s check ready for you to deposit in your bank account for more than the rental price. They ask you to wire them the difference once you’ve deposited the check. Unfortunately, once the bank figures out the check you deposited is a fake, you are responsible for paying back all the money, including the cash you wired to the scammer.

If you’ve wired money and didn’t get the product or service you were promised, call the money transfer company right away to report the fraud and file a complaint. You also can file a complaint with the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages


So true. When moving to another state I used Craigslist. There were three different scams for housing rentals. The different people not only emailed but also called me from Africa. Just remember if it sounds realllllly good it probably is a scam.

HI. I got caught in a scam when trying to rent an apartment on Craig's List. The site looked legitimate but I found out later it was a redirect. So I went on line - Equifax - to report it. I got a message that the server encountered an error and it couldn't go through. So I called. After i gave all my information they told me they had already received an alert - the one I sent that "didn't go through" no doubt. They want me to send personal documents by certified mail. At this point, I don't trust anyone. My daughter had a similar problem and didn't have to send anyone anything. I am SO frustrated. Mikell Worly

Geez. I was so upset that I spelled my last name wrong - sorry. It's Mikell Worley - left out the e - I think.

I have just begun receiving your e-mail alerts, they are great.


I have a question of rent and why isn't it recorded in our credit report? 5 years ago I had to be approved through my credit report to be able to rent my apartment. I have been paying over $1k a month and never been late, not one time! We all have to pay to live somewhere, why are we not getting the credit we deserve for being a good tenant and paying on time all the time. I think its about time someone made a change in our credit report and given us the scores we should have, not by frivolous small apparel, and household needs accounts like I have. My score would be much higher if more things were taken into account.

I applied for an apartment from "deeveeh2e @ " on craigslist. please look out for the address 1830-34 El Segundo Bl. Gardena, CA 902491. She claims to have Laryngeal Cancer and has relocated to Denver so she cannot do a walk through but feel free to look around the neighborhood. Also text only not able to talk with throat cancer.. (702) 538-7162 this is a Denver phone number. Please be aware of this scam

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