Prospective renters should beware of online scams for rental homes

You're browsing online classified ad sites looking for a place to rent, when suddenly, one of those offers that seems too good to be true sits before you. In all likelihood, it's not true.

This ongoing scam usually targets houses that are legitimately for sale. Online fraudsters grab details of the home from an Internet posting and advertise the home for rent, typically requesting a very reasonable deposit and a pretty attractive monthly rent. The "owner" will almost certainly be out of the country right now, or otherwise unavailable to show you the home in person and will suggest that you "just drive by and have a look from the outside."

When you see what an amazing deal it is, you quickly agree to his/her terms and forward the requested deposit, which of course, you never see again.

Don't "rent" a property that you can't get access to. If you view a home and want to rent it, don't be afraid to ask the person showing you the property for some form of identification. If they won't provide it, be suspicious. Never do this kind of a deal online.

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra

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