Local officials warn about rental scams

The East TN Valley Crime Stoppers says the 2 most common rental scams include Hijacked Ads and Phantom Rentals
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers is warning the public on rental scams.

The two most common rental scams include highjacked ads and phantom rentals, according to the post.

Highjacked ads happen when scammers change the contact information on a real rental or real estate listing to their email address or place a modified ad on another site.

Phantom rentals happen when scammers create listings and ads on apartments and homes that either do not exist or more often, on places that are not available. They lure you in with promises of low rent or great amenities, according to the post.

Officials say both scams will typically ask for money upfront as a “security deposit” or “good faith” money before they will show the property. The money will most likely need to be sent as a certified check or money order.

Sometimes the scammer will not show the house to viewers, due to excuses such as COVID, but will take a deposit now and then provide the key for the person to see the home later.

Officials say the best thing to do to protect yourself from a scammer is to contact the real estate agents directly and look at the tax records to see who really owns the house. Most importantly, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you should never give money upfront just to “view” the property, according to officials.

If you are a victim of any of these scams, you are asked to contact the site where you find your home listed and inform them of the problem, according to the post.

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