Nowadays, looking for an apartment for rent is almost a full-time job. From establishing your search criteria, putting together all the documents required for the application, searching through thousands of listing websites, contacting landlords, real estate agents, or property managers, getting through the negotiation process, and the most important during all of these steps: making sure the rental listing is legitimate.
Despite there are plenty of resources and information on the internet about what is rental fraud and how to avoid it, nobody is exempt from falling for it since scammers are always coming up with new tricks to fraud renters. If in normal times this is something that happens very often, we have to be extremely careful during these pandemic times, where visiting apartments for rent may not be possible.
If you have been a victim of rental fraud, it’s possible that you feel overwhelmed and frustrated for not knowing exactly what to do and where to report it. We have compiled a list of steps to follow to report the scam to the competent authorities and parties.
But the truth is that no matter what was the reason why it happened to you, all of them are fine. Nobody wants to lose time and money, and being scammed is something that could happen even if you have carefully taken the security precautions since there are tons of skilled scammers out there.
So, don't blame yourself. For every experience in life, for sure there is "something" we all could have done better, however, on some occasions, things just happen even to the most cautious person.
The most important thing is to get down to work and report the fraudster to the proper authorities.
If you got scammed or identified a rental scammer while looking for an apartment, then follow the next steps to properly report the fraudster:
Following these steps won’t necessarily guarantee that you will get your money back, but at least would help to stop the scammer, as well as to help protect other renters.
Last but not least, one important thing to keep in mind if you have been scammed is not to blame yourself, these people are criminals, period.
In many cases, getting scammed is a consequence of either lack of renting experience, being in a rush for finding a new apartment for rent, not knowing the city or not being physically available to view the properties, or simply because you were in contact with an experienced scammer who knew how to do his/her things to make you fall for it.