Rental scammers continually devise new ways to defraud potential tenants. Recently, a new twist on a previous scam has appeared and works this way. The scammer creates a fake listing of one of your properties on an online rental site. Although we’ve seen this occur before, the new twist is that the scammer then registers through your remote showing system to view the property as though he/she were an actual prospect, and obtain an access code to view the property.
Once the scammer receives inquires via their fake ad, they talk to potential residents using a VoIP number, such as Google Voice, acting as the owner of the property. While the unsuspecting victim is at the door to the property and on the phone with the scammer, the scammer provides the fraudulently-obtained access code to the victim. In some cases where a photo ID is required, the scammer uses a fake ID, or gets the victim to text him a photo of their ID and then uploads that to satisfy the requirement. After the victim has viewed the property, the scammer then requests that the victim wire the deposit to the scammer to secure the rental. The victim then shows up later at your property management office expecting to take possession of the rental.
To help prevent this, you will need to monitor your vacant properties frequently. And, you may want to conduct periodic Google searches using your vacant property addresses. Do they show up as listed for rent on any site/s other than the ones you’re using? Look at the ads, and flag/report any unauthorized advertisements.
Real Property Management keeps its franchise owners aware of scams like this through our regular franchise office updates and training. Keeping up with the latest information in property management gives our Real Property Management offices an edge over their local competitors. Would you like to learn more about becoming a Real Property Management franchise owner? Please contact us for more information.