You’re looking for a house to rent and decide to see what is available on Craigslist or similar site.

You found a great house in a wonderful neighborhood that is priced at an unbelievable price, much less than the other homes in that area.  You look at the photos and you think you have found the perfect home for your family, and you know that you need to move quickly on this great home or risk losing it to another savvy shopper. 

You respond to the ad, check your email and there is a reply from an unsecured email address (Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail etc).  As you read the email, you find that the owner is out of the country. He is a God fearing man and he just wants someone to live in his home and take care of it.

He suggests that you drive by the home and if you like it, you can send him the first month’s rent and security deposit and he will in return send you the keys and you can move right in.  He may even send you an application. (This is a double bonus for the scammer; he gets your cash and all your personal information)

You notice that his grammar isn’t very good but you decide to take a drive by to see this wonderful home.   As you pull up you notice the sign in the yard that says it’s being rented by XYZ Company.

Being the smart shopper that you are, you call the number on the sign and discover that you almost fell for a very costly scam.

Sound like a made up story?  It’s not.  This is happening to home owners, renters and property management companies nationwide. It happens in Onslow County too.  This happened to Independence Rentals and Property Management just this week.   Thankfully the owner had his home listed with our company, and we had our sign in the yard as the people drove by to check out the home.  If this was a For Rent by Owner, the outcome could have been very different and devastating to both the renter and the real owner.

What can you do to prevent this from happening to you?  Nothing beats a face to face meeting with the home owner or property Management Company.  For homeowners it is helpful to have someone checking on your property in your absence.

Here are several tip-offs in this type of scam.

  1. The email may start out with “Sir / Madam”
  2. There are several spelling/grammar mistakes
  3. The email refers to God, UK, Cashier’s Check, Doctor, Nigeria etc.
  4. The email is from a free account (Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL)
  5. The email offers to mail you keys after you send them money.

If you feel that you are being lured by one of these scammers contact the FBI, report it to the website that listed the ad, and by all means DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY! If it sounds too good to be true, it just may be.

Exit Independence Realty is located in Jacksonville North Carolina and services the towns of Jacksonville, Hubert, Richlands, Holly Ridge, Maple Hill, Snead Ferry,  Swansboro, and all of Onslow County. Camp Lejeune and our military families are our neighbors and we take care of them, call us with all of your real estate needs 910 347-6886.