Call Christina: Statements related to real estate fraud

Fake rental listings on the Internet have been increasing

By Christina Vazquez - Reporter
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ZUMPER

"Our internal team at Zumper both manually and programmatically verify every landlord & property manager who tries to post directly to our site (via our direct tool www.zumper.com/pro) so that we categorically avoid any spam.

Of our half a million active rental listings nationwide, a proportion are however provided by third party property manager feeds managed by other companies. It is possible that one of these companies has not upheld their own standards of verifying the authenticity of listings they send to us and other major rental listing sites."

-Anthemos Georgiades

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

"The number of fake rental listings on the Internet has been increasing and members of the National Association of Realtors take these scams very seriously. To protect themselves, consumers should be aware of some of the common signs that they may be dealing with a scam. Those include rental rates that are too good to be true; requests for a security deposit or first month's rent before seeing the property or signing a lease, especially if the request is for cash or money to be wired; and if the owner is out of the country and they request you work with another person on their behalf.

For consumers, working with a REALTOR® is the safest way to avoid scams; it's also good to do a search of the property owner and address to ensure they align or seek out to neighbors or other tenants in the building who may have additional information about the rental and owner. If consumers find themselves the target of a rental scam, they should immediately report it to their local law enforcement."

- NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Arkansas

RELATED LINKS

Click here to read consumer tips

Click here to watch a video with tips for agents

DEPOSIT PROTECTION SERVICE

"The Deposit Protection Service provides tenancy deposit protection services to landlords in England and Wales and has rigorous procedures and processes in place to prevent fraud. For clarity, it is a legal requirement in England and Wales that landlords and letting agents protect tenants' deposits rather than just keeping them in ‘their back pocket' for the duration of a tenancy. One of the ways they can choose to do this, is via our Deposit Protection Service. After registering, the landlord or letting agent pays over the deposit directly to us and we hold it until the end of the tenancy, when the deposit is paid back to the person entitled to it. Under the law in England and Wales, this is the tenant unless the landlord or letting agent can prove, with evidence, a reason why they would be entitled to it instead.

"We do not offer deposit protection services outside of the UK and we do not offer any kind of realty services.

Clearly, we have no control over listing people may be placing on websites that are not our own and as with all financial matters, consumers should be extra vigilant when paying over funds, and conduct appropriate checks to make sure that any party they're dealing with is legitimate."

-Joe Williamss

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