Couple Warns About Rental Home Scams
A couple in Ohio is trying to help others by sharing their scam experience. We all hear about internet scams, but rental home scams? I never would have thought something like this would be a cause for concern until hearing Delah and JiJi Ndiaye’s story. The Ndiaye’s tell their story about how they rented a home and gave their deposit, and then it turned out that they weren’t dealing with the real owner.
According to WCPO, Delah and JiJi found the perfect home they describe as a cute little one-bedroom cottage for $475 a month. Delah said they found the listing on Craigslist. The Lockland, Ohio couple said after calling about the property, the landlord asked them to meet at the property to take a look at it. When they arrived at the house, they met a woman who they say appeared to be the landlord’s wife. The couple signed a very official-looking lease, and then paid the woman $475 by a money order.
Just like any couple finding the perfect home, the Ndiaye’s didn’t waste any time getting settled in. They started moving in their furniture and even had their WiFi activated at the new home.
Everything was great until this bomb was dropped. Days after moving in, the “real landlord” paid them a visit. Apparently, they were going to the house to lock them out. The Ndiaye’s were naturally confused and had no idea what was going on.
What WAS going on? Well, they were victims of the Craigslist house-rental scam. The ad, the lease, and the ‘landlord and his wife’ were all fake. The real owner wanted them out of the house and was turning off their water.
How did this happen? Delah says the ‘landlord’ didn’t have a key, but he had the code to the lockbox to get in the house. They believe the scammer posed as a renter to get the lockbox code. The phone number on the lease was apparently a disposable cell number which is now disconnected.
With rental homes being in short supply right now, this is something you need to be very aware of.
According to Consumer Reports Magazine, scammers will find a legitimate house or apartment for rent. They will copy and repost the ad on Craigslist, even listing the address and showing photos to show that it is a real place. They price it below the original leasing price, to catch renters looking for a bargain. Sometimes they simply ask for prospective renters to wire a deposit.
HOW TO AVOID A SCAM:
To protect yourself, Consumer Reports says:
- Be suspicious of Craigslist rental listings that seem too cheap for the neighborhood.
- Never wire or send a deposit to a landlord you have never met.
- Be especially suspicious of a landlord who doesn't have keys to the property. He may not be the landlord.