As technology increases across the world, seemingly every day, people need to be aware of the new risks involving thieves and ease of access to your information. One of the newest tricks thieves keep up their sleeves is the use of technology and the web in order to scam you out of a potential to rent.
As renters are increasing throughout the nation, scammers have begun perfecting the act of accessing your information or the information of online rental companies as well as stealing your money.
The latest case which has brought this issue into light happened to a young woman in Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently divorced, this woman was looking for a new place to stay with her and her three children. She saw a local ad on Craigslist and the house appeared perfect. After she spoke with the person who claimed to be the owner, she was given a lockbox code which allowed her to access the key and the home.
Once checking out the place and falling in love, she sent over a security deposit as well as the fist month of rent. Only to find out shortly after that the man she sent the money too as well as who she had been in contact with was actually a scammer. She had lost the money.
What makes this possible is that rental companies have now started moving more of their business online, cutting out realtors to show you the houses. This process involves you signing up online and then using a new idea referred to as “Let Yourself In”. This enables you to go to the house for rent, unlock the key from the lock box, check out the house for as long as you want and then make a decision. While the process is easy and allows you more freedom, the risks are now showing.
This process makes it easy for someone else to gain access to the lockbox code and essentially flip the script, making them appear to be the owner, and making it easy for you to send them money without question.
Unfortunately for this woman, the company she went through is not offering any help. In any case, it is important to make sure you do your research and are aware of who you are dealing with, trying to meet the potential renter in person or go to the company yourself before sending money to someone.
While the number of renters are increasing, so are the amount of people trying to scam others. It is so important to protect yourself in these situations whether you are new to renting or in the middle of a lease. Having the right renters insurance plan is key to protecting yourself and your belongings. There are many great and affordable renters insurance plans throughout the Chicagoland area.