By MyNewPlace Guest Blogger, Ron Leshnower – About.com’s Apartment Living Expert
Apartment rental scams are all too common these days. Too often, there’s a story in the news about how an unsuspecting apartment hunter gave hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to someone to secure an apartment that the person didn’t even own or manage. By the time the victim realizes what has happened, the scammer usually has managed to pocket the victim’s hard-earned money and disappear.
The fact that apartment rental scams typically happen to apartment hunters when they least expect it may make you feel helpless when it comes to dealing with scams in your apartment search. But there are actually things you can do to lower the chances of falling victim to a scam and also to take action if you’ve already lost money to one.
The key to avoiding scams is recognizing common red flags. For example, if a landlord asks you to send money and explains he can’t meet you or show you the property first because he’s out of the country, you should get suspicious. Check out these tips I’ve put together for recognizing and avoiding apartment rental scams.
In the unfortunate event that you’ve already been scammed, avoid the temptation to sit on your couch and sulk. From calling the police to filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, you have real options you can pursue that can help catch your scammer and maybe even get your money back. Plus, taking action after a scam can help others avoid the same fate and give you peace of mind. Here are seven steps I recommend you take after a scam to get your apartment search and your life back on track.