During these times of uncertainty, fear, and societal strife, we have started to see an uptick in scammers who are preying on those emotions.
How do they do this? By using the housing market to target people in search of a home to rent. Scammers peruse real estate websites, find what they think is a believable property, and then scrape all of the property information and create a posting of it as a rental property on websites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. They create and describe convincing stories about the owner who wants to rent it, and offer rates that are below the market, making it extremely desirable. When you respond to the listing, they pose as the owner, and then, upon engaging in a dialogue with them, they will ask for a deposit.
How can you protect yourself against these scams?
1. Contact the listing agent/company directly by calling the phone number posted on their company website. Do not use an email or link in the fraudulent posting. For Homesale Realty, contact our Lead Center (717-295-4663) OR confirm the agent’s contact information through https://www.homesale.com/getagent/.
2. Do not make any payments prior to signing a contract.
3. Make sure you communicate with the agent face-to-face, whether that is through an in-person meeting, or via video call over the phone.
4. If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Read over the listing information carefully.
5. Verify the posting/listing is not an actual For Sale property by entering the listing address into Homesale.com. If the property is actually for sale, it will be presented as such.
At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty, we do everything we can to protect our clients and their families. We want to ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish. If you come across a fraudulent listing, please alert the listing agent/company so we can report it to the proper authorities.
Stay safe and be alert.