El Dorado Hills - Homes & News - DeeDee Riley Realtor: Renters Beware!

Renters Beware!

It is a shame that through the internet we have a way to make finding rentals easy but that people use the system to scam innocent people! Renters Beware!

A couple years ago we saw a flood of rental scams on Craigslist.  I warned my clients and friends not to use Craigslist to find a rental.  

Sadly my sister and brother-in-law were almost taken by a rental scam on Trulia this week. Luckily they asked me what I thought before they sent any money to the would-be owner who had supposedly moved to Maryland.  

My brother-in-law found the listing below on Trulia.com.

Renters Beware!

The house is listed as having 1956 square feet, was pet friendly, and included lawn service and was renting for $1500 per month.  Rentals  in this area tend to rent for around $1 per square foot if not more.

*Sometimes you might see it a little less but if the rent is much less than this your scam alert should be going off!  

My brother-in-law was taken in by the great deal and not thinking it could be a scam.  He requested information there on the Trulia site and was contacted back by email.  Here is some of the verbiage from those emails: 

"My home is still available for rent and i am currently in MARYLAND with my family due to my husband new job that is why i want to rent my home to a tenant who is willing to take my home like theirs. Presently i don't have anyone trustworthy at CA who i can send my keys and paper work to,Just to show you the interior of my home.You can only view the outside of my home for now."

"before i can send my keys and paper work to you,i will send you the Rental Application Form,so that you can get it filled and i can go through your references as well and i will also want you to put down the Security Deposit: $1000,so that i can take my home off market for you to avoid other people from contacting me about the same home.Then when you get my keys and paper work,you can go ahead and view the interior of my home,if you really like it and ready to move in,then you will put down the Month Rent $1500 of my home as well.On the day you move into my home,then your rent starts counting.While if you don't like the inside of my home,i will require you  send back my keys to me and i will refund your Payment,with immediate effect."

*Never send money to anyone in the mail like they requested here.  Renters beware and be wary! Reason number 2 your scam alert should be going off.

*Something else to think about the above situation, if they don't have a property manager and there is an issue how is it going to get taken care of? 

*Really think it through, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If it doesn't all make sense don't let that great deal cloud your judgement.

In Trulia's defense they do have the alert below on the side bar of all the rental listings on their site and the "Read more" link takes you to more information on what they are doing to try and prevent the scams, etc. More of a disclaimer if you ask me but still it is a warning.

If you do come across a fraudulent listing, please report or "Flag" it.  It is not easy to find where to do that but below the pictures there is a button that says "More".  If you click on the drop down you will see "Flag".


Renters Beware!


So to summarize my best advise:

1. Do some research on the average rental price for the area.  If it is way out of the norm, beware!

2. Google the home and see what else you can find out.  Make sure the information on the home itself is consistent.  If you find it listed for sale or that the description isn't the same, beware!

3. Never send or give money without proof you are giving the money to the legal owner or representative (ie. a property management company)  Make sure the property management company is legit as well! Google them.  Look for reviews on them. Look them up on the Better Business Bureau website.

4. If you do come across a fraudulent rental listing - take the time to report it!

5. If you are still in doubt, contact a Realtor you trust and ask them to see what they can find out for you.  





DeeDee Riley - El Dorado Hills Realtor - Lyon Real Estate - CABRE#01499004


When you're ready to sell or buy a home; I would love to help! To read what my clients have to say about me and my service, visit my Client Testimonial page.

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Comment balloon 15 commentsDeeDee Riley • March 05 2015 09:04PM



Oh so true, Craig's list had a magnificent estate for lease for $3,500 a month.  A friend was interest, I checked the title and the email was to the owner's name, and as we did a little more research, we learned it was a scam form Nigeria...A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 5 years ago

I'll be on the lookout for interesting and suspicious things in the near future in that respect.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 5 years ago

Craigslist has about a handful of those every couple of months it seems. And might I add this is all across the country? Have to be discerning. Seems logical.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 5 years ago

we have seen scammers copy our rental ad and try to bilk cash from innocent parties DeeDee Riley , but I have received 95% of rental inquirers to call on Craigslist, so I can't complain.

Posted by Bruce Hicks, Your Lifetime Friend/Helper! (Best Homes Hawaii) over 5 years ago

I guess the scams are getting close to home DeeDee. Thanks for the alert!

If it looks too good to be true...

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) over 5 years ago

DeeDee Riley Lucky your sister and B-in-L were not scammed. We often encounter potential buyers that opt to rent for a while and we implore them to contact us to help them screen a property to make sure the owner is indeed who they are dealing with and our advice is NEVER pay a cent without physically meeting the landlord, and completing the due diligence.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Lend Smart Mortgage, Llc.) over 5 years ago

DeeDee Riley very good advice - never send money first. I know of people who have been scammed on rentals, and the scammers for the most part get away with it because it's $1,000 here, $1,0000 there, and it ends up in their pockets, as they continue to rip off consumers. Renters need to beware...

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 5 years ago

The thing about these scams, is we get up to speed on them, just about the same time the scammers have changed tactics and are on to their newest capers. They always seem just one step ahead of us.

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) over 5 years ago

We are still seeing a lot of these scams when it comes to rentals.  I hope no one would send money to these folks.

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 5 years ago

DeeDee Riley  rental scams are now more 'known' to people. At least people stay away from that on Craigslist. However, I see this on Trulia - and that's something  serious!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 5 years ago

Scan Craigs list from time to time to see if any of your listing might be listed for rent by these scammers.  I don't know how people will fall for this and send money to a completely unknown source, without doing some due diligence.  Happend to one of my listing not too long ago and the people were smart enough to go on line and contact me and we stopped them

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 5 years ago

Works both ways with scams with people pretending to be landlords and tenants. If you use me to find a home to buy or rent and it costs you nothing why wouldn't you?

It's scary how many times this scam works.

Posted by Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS, Selling Your Home as if it were My Own! (Panorama R.E. Limited) over 5 years ago

Be careful, looking for the red flags. Some schemes out there have ten foot pole marks all over them.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 5 years ago

Hello Dee-Dee ... thanks for the heads up and your post has been featured to the group:


Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz over 5 years ago

Hi, Deedee! This is a great post to remind everyone to be cautious about these rental scams. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 5 years ago

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