Welcome to the world of Facebook Home Rental Scams. This article will help you understand how these scammers operate and how to protect yourself. We’re sharing with you important information on Facebook scams. It may seem like you’ve found the perfect home at a low rental rate on the Facebook marketplace,but it could turn out too good to be true. These scammers operate on all kinds of social media platforms and not just Facebook marketplace worldwide. Some areas are more popular than others like Orlando, Kissimmee, or Davenport, Florida. These scammers target long-term rentals and vacation rentals.
Important Information On Facebook Scams
Home rental scams are not new, but the advent of social media platforms like Facebook has given them a new lease on life. Fraudsters have found a new hunting ground to con unsuspecting individuals looking for a place to call home. That’s why we’ve published this article to give you important information on Facebook scams. The scammers are cunning in their approach and continually evolving methods. Here are some common tactics they use:
Advertising Nonexistent Properties
In this scam, the fraudster advertises a rental property that doesn’t exist. They’ll use persuasive language and attractive images to lure potential tenants, usually stolen from several other listings. They may say it’s their parent’s home who has died or gone into a long-term care home. There’s no mortgage on the house, so they don’t need that much rental income to cover their expenses. They can’t bear to sell it and are looking for a good family that would want to live in it for years and care for the home as if it were their own.
Hijacking Legitimate Homes For Rent Listings
Another common scam that Facebook marketplace scammers use involves hijacking legitimate listings. The scammer copies a genuine listing and reposts it with their contact details. This could be for a vacation rental listing in the Orlando area or for a long-term rental home. They’ll often offer a significantly lower price to attract potential victims before looking at a house for rent by the owner. Search Google for other places this home may be listed with different phone numbers. Scammers often use untraceable burner phones and change their phone numbers frequently. For example, put our office phone number in a Google search 407-933-2367, and you’ll come up with various places our phone number is listed on the internet. Put their phone number in, and you’ll probably not find anything.
Important Information On Facebook Scams – Red Flags
Check the seller info page before sending a message to someone advertising the listing. If you don’t see a profile picture, image banner, or past Marketplace listings, the seller is probably a fake and trying to scam you.
They ask for application fees or a rent holding deposit to secure the rental when you haven’t seen the property. Sometimes, they have gained illegal access to a property and ask you to leave the front door open because their cleaners or maintenance crew will be arriving shortly. Any cleaner or maintenance man will have a key to access the home. Never leave a front door unlocked. Ensure you lock it and look at other advertising for this home and inform the local police and the legitimate property management company. They may still be looking for good applicants for the rental house.
Rental Owner Or Scammer
They may claim they are the owner, and if they rent to you direct, they’ll save on paying leasing fees to their property management company. This is not true. The actual owners usually sign a property management or leasing agreement. Real estate brokers wouldn’t advertise the home for rent without an exclusive signed rental agreement with the owners.
The landlord claims to be out of the country but still wants to rent directly to tenants, and from what you’ve told them, they feel like you’re a perfect fit when they haven’t met you or run any background, credit, or employment checks on you is another red flag. They try to find things in common with you to make you feel they’re legitimate. Don’t give anyone your social security number or bank account information. Even the FBI has a warning article about rental home scammers. So if you’ve fallen for one, you’re not alone.
Common Scare Tactics
Facebook scammers often pressure victims to act quickly. They may also request money transfers or payments through non-traditional methods, like gift cards, cash, online apps, or Western Union, or pay money into their friend’s account or send by wiring funds to another bank account that could be overseas or out of state. These scams have far-reaching effects, both financially and emotionally. Victims often lose significant sums of money and may find themselves without a place to live.
How to Protect Yourself from Facebook Marketplace Rental Home Scams
Avoiding these scams requires vigilance and a healthy dose of skepticism. Here’s what you can do:
Research and Verification
Since Facebook doesn’t verify, sellers research the property and the person listing it. Look for inconsistencies and try to confirm as much information as you can. Search the address on Google or your other preferred search engine, and see if you find it elsewhere with a higher rental rate. Look at the websites and the listing company and research their websites and check to see if this is a legitimate business.
If the person states, they are an employee of the property management company. Call the main office phone number and verify the employee. Look at the business’s website and research the company online. Are they a legitimate licensed real estate property management company and licensed brokerage?
Never Pay Upfront
Never pay any money before you’ve seen the property. Sometimes these scammers ask for payment via an online app or cash. Actual property management companies will have a secure online application process like ours. All applicants over 18 years old will need to fill one out! Legitimate landlords will understand your caution.
Trust Your Instincts
If something seems off, it probably is. Don’t ignore red flags, and trust your instincts.
What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed
If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, report it to your local law enforcement, Facebook, and the company or person with the legitimate listing. Contact your bank immediately if you’ve shared financial information or made a payment.
Facebook’s Response to Rental Scams
Facebook is continually working to detect and remove scam listings, but it’s challenging given the platform’s size and global reach. Always report suspicious listings to help Facebook in this fight.
Facebook Home Rental Scams and other social media platforms are the perfect places for scammers to list bogus properties for rent. Check out different sources and be vigilant on Facebook Marketplace and other social media advertising platforms. By understanding how these scams work, recognizing red flags, and taking protective measures, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to these scams. Another common place for scammers to advertise fake or hijacked listings is Craigslist. Click here to read