Craigslist Orlando has long been a popular platform for finding houses for rent by owners. However, with its vast number of listings, it’s no surprise that the site has become a breeding ground for scammers. Locals know the potential risks when searching for rental properties on Craigslist Orlando. This article will discuss the most common scams on the site and share valuable tips on protecting yourself when looking for a rental property.
Common Scams on Craigslist Orlando: Houses for Rent by Owner
- One of the most prevalent scams on Craigslist Orlando is fake rental listings. Scammers often steal images and information from legitimate listings, reposting them with altered contact information and lowering rental prices. Unsuspecting renters may be enticed by the attractive offer and contact the scammer, who may ask for a deposit or personal information before disappearing.
The scammer poses as the property owner or a property management company. They access a vacant property by popping the locks or breaking a window. They arrange for many viewers to visit the property on the same day and show it to potential renters. Once they collect a few cash deposits or rent payments from the unsuspecting renters, they disappear, leaving the renter without a legitimate rental agreement and out of their hard-earned money. Next, they delete their email account and change the phone number on the burner phone they used to contact the renters. So, there’s no way to contact them again.
A variation on this scam is that the scammer will arrange to meet you at the rental property and then call you to explain that they had an emergency and can’t meet you. They tell you to look in the windows and around the property. If you feel like this home is for you, you must send the security deposit immediately as they have three other families wanting to rent it and would prefer to rent it to you. They only wanted a low rental rate as it was their mother’s home, and needed someone to look after it.
Phishing scams on Craigslist Orlando involve scammers posing as landlords who request personal information, such as Social Security numbers or bank account details, from potential renters. They may claim that they need this information to conduct a background check or verify identity. However, once the scammer has the victim’s personal information, they can use it for identity theft or other fraudulent activities.
Protect Yourself from Scams on Craigslist Orlando
- Verify Property Ownership
Before engaging with a landlord or signing a lease, conduct your research to verify the property owner’s identity. You can do this by searching public records, checking with the county property appraiser’s office, or contacting the property management company, if applicable. For example, our website is https://renterschoicehomes.com/ and more information about how to search publish records later.
All reputable property management companies have a website, address, and phone number. You can also look them up on Facebook to see how long their page has been active. Ours is https://www.facebook.com/RentersChoiceHomes
Search their phone number in google to see what comes up. For example, put in our office phone number, 407 933 2367, or our UK phone number, 0161 300 9595. You’ll come up with at least ten instances on page one where it details McCormack Realty & Renters Choice Homes as a legitimate real estate brokerage and property management company located in Kissimmee, Florida, and serves Kissimmee, St Cloud, Lake Nona, Davenport, Clermont, and Orlando. Take a look at what a real property rental application looks like https://rch.managebuilding.com/Resident/rental-application/new and what homes we may have available to rent https://renterschoicehomes.com/homes-for-rent-in-kissimmee-davenport-and-orlando-florida/
Check Public Records
Check out who owns the rental property and if it has a business license to be used as a long-term rental home. For example, homes in Kissimmee, St Cloud, Celebration or Reunion, etc., are located in Osceola County. You would search here to find out if you’re dealing with the owner https://osceola.county-taxes.com/public/search/property_tax. Remember to ask them to send you a copy of their driver’s license so you can verify their identity. If the rental home is located in Davenport, check out this website. https://www.polkpa.org/CamaDisplay.aspx?OutputMode=Input&searchType=RealEstate&page=FindByAddress Orlando home rentals usually come under Orange County, https://www.octaxcol.com/taxes/about-property-tax/property-tax-search-tax-roll-download/
Beware of Suspiciously Low Prices
It is if a rental price seems too good to be true. Scammers often list properties at below-market rates to lure in unsuspecting renters. Always compare rental prices in the area to determine if the listing is legitimate. No one rents a property for hundreds of dollars less than what is typical in the area. Check on google to see if a real estate company lists this home by adding the rental address in google.
- Avoid Wiring Money or Paying with Gift Cards
Scammers often request payment via wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, or gift cards, as these methods are difficult to trace and reverse. Reputable landlords and property managers typically accept checks or online payment methods through secure platforms.
Conduct an In-Person Property Viewing
4. Visit the rental property and meet with the landlord or property manager whenever possible. Be cautious if the person you’re dealing with hesitates to show the property or meet you in person. Sometimes property managers use an automated secure viewing process. This means there is a particular type of lockbox on the home, and you will be given a code to enter once they have verified your identity.
- Protect Your Personal Information
Do not provide sensitive personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account details, to anyone without verifying their identity and the legitimacy of the rental property. A legitimate landlord or property manager will understand your concerns and provide appropriate documentation to prove their legitimacy. A third-party official credit checking agency is often used, so your information is secure.
Craigslist Orlando’s houses for rent by owner listings can be a valuable resource for renters, but it’s essential to remain vigilant against potential scams. Following the tips outlined in this article, you can protect yourself from falling victim to fraudulent listings and unscrupulous individuals. Conduct thorough research on rental properties, verify property ownership and be cautious with your personal information. By taking these precautions, you can have a safer and more enjoyable rental search experience on Craigslist Orlando.
Remember, if you ever encounter a suspicious listing or believe you have fallen victim to a scam, report the incident to local authorities and Craigslist to help prevent others from falling into the same trap. With vigilance and caution, you can successfully navigate Craigslist Orlando and find a good rental property.