What's Hot: Washington Spirit Owner Michele Kang Lists DC Home for $14.5 Million | The Smallest Home on the Market in DC
DC Apartment Hunters, Beware the Phantom Rental
ApartmentList released a study today that states that 5.2 million people nationwide have fallen prey to apartment rental scams, losing money along the way. In the DC area, that applies to an estimated 9.3 percent of renters that were surveyed. Additionally, 34 percent of renters in the region suspect that they have come across a fraudulent rental listing, with many of them citing "phantom listings" as the culprit. Today, UrbanTurf takes a look at how rental scams play out in the city.
Phantom listings are defined as apartment advertisements that either are made up entirely, advertise something that is not a rental at all, or use artificially low prices to lure a prospective renter. This type of scam is very prevalent online, with many people lured in by "good deals" posted on Craigslist and similar sites that offer the poster anonymity, as the Boston Globe reported last month.
In these instances, the scammer often uses addresses of homes that were previously for sale, recycling the pictures from the listing to make the rental seem legitimate and tacking on an almost suspiciously-low price. Many individuals who are enticed by these rentals are usually out of town and unable to check out listings in person, or are unaware of the market rent in a given area.
story continues belowloading...
story continues above
Scammers are able to seal the deal by requesting money to be wired to them, a payment method that leaves the victim little recourse once they find out that they have been scammed. Other scams can include "catfishing", when a rental is advertised as having amenities it doesn't in order for the poster to get more money; bait-and-switch, when one rental is used to entice a renter but isn't the one available; and when rentals that are already occupied are listed as available.
While the elderly are typically thought of as being more vulnerable to scams, younger people tend to fall victim at a higher rate. To some extent, this may have a lot to do with younger people being more technology-dependent making it easier for scammers to have a wide reach. However, Apartment List's study is based on a survey of 1,126 renters, and 18-29 year olds may be disproportionately represented among the sample.
For those curious about whether they've encountered a scam, the Better Business Bureau has an advice page that goes into further detail. In general, however, always check rentals out in person when possible, always be suspicious of excessive misspellings and odd email addresses, and avoid anything that asks for your Social Security number or banking information.
See other articles related to: apartment list, craigslist, rental scams
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc-apartment-hunters-beware-the-phantom-rental/14237.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
Our guide for amateur landlords who don't really know what they're doing.... read »
Whole Foods announced yesterday that the 47,000 square foot store will open on June 2... read »
The Massachusetts Avenue Heights home was previously owned by the former chief execut... read »
A large new apartment and townhouse project has been pitched for the growing pipeline... read »
With Dan and Tanya Snyder moving out of River View, the region may soon have a very e... read »
Virginia's homebuyer assistance programs can seem complex. This edition of First-Time... read »
The residential projects that have sprouted up on the Maryland and DC sides of the Fr... read »
With a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, the redevelopment of the Georgetown Wes... read »
The 23,600 square-foot mansion just hit the market, and would set a record if it fetc... read »
The immaculately kept 100-year-old house features six bedrooms and four-and-a-half ba... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
- The Essential Guide to Being an Amateur Landlord in DC
- Whole Foods at Walter Reed to Open at End of June
- Washington Spirit Owner Michele Kang Lists DC Home for $14.5 Million
- A Two-Phase, 370-Unit Development Pitched For Columbia Pike Gas Station Site
- Will This Be the Most Expensive Home on the Market in the DC Area?
- First-Timer Primer: Virginia's Home Buyer Assistance Programs
- Mall Conversions, Trader Joes? The 1,500 Units in the Friendship Heights Pipeline
- The Four Seasons Private Residences in Georgetown Break Ground
- DC's Blaine Mansion Lists For $30 Million, A Potentially Record-Setting Price in the City
- Now Selling: A 16th Street Heights Victorian on an Island of Its Own
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro