We hear about rental scams on Craigslist quite often. They usually involve someone claiming to be out of the country, requesting your security deposit and possibly some rent, and then you never hear from them again. It is usually easy to spot these, as they are advertised way below market value.
Yesterday there was a post on Craigslist that offered a 2 bedroom condo at $1,100/month. If you responded to the post, the “landlord” would write back and tell you more about the condo, then ask for you to have a recent credit report before setting up an appointment. The e-mail included a link to a website that provided “free” credit reports.
The problem? There is only one website that the government endorses which allows you to receive your credit report for free annually, annualcreditreport.com.
The other websites, like the one that the “landlord” directed the potential tenant to, have a tendency to steal your personal and financial information. They can easily steal your identity, and spend your money, with this information.
How do you tell if you are being scammed?
1) The landlord doesn’t provide a phone number to reach them at.
2) The landlord asks you to provide a credit report, and includes the link in the e-mail. If the link is to any site other than annualcreditreport.com, run!!
3) The landlord doesn’t provide you with the address of the property, even when directly asked.
If you get a response like this from someone you contacted on Craigslist, do a favor to others, and flag the post as spam!