Unfortunately, these days it seems scams and rip off artists are around every corner. As Realtors we run across a rental scam almost daily where the scammer has stolen pictures off the internet of a property for rent or sale, sets up their own fake rental on CraigsList using the photos and tries to lure a trusting tenant to rent the property sight unseen. This happens in both the city and the suburbs.
Our best advice is to set up a Google Alert on your home or rental property. Google Alerts are simple and free tools to get regular updates about something that interests you, such as your property and your tenants. Google Alerts will send you an email any time a new web page appears in the top 20 web results or top 10 news results for the terms you specify.
As a homeowner, we also recommend setting up a Google Alert so you can make sure someone doesn’t try run a rental scam using photos of your property.
We also recommend parents set up Google Alerts on each of their children using the child’s full legal name, but that’s another story for another day!
Setting up a Google Alerts is simple. Go to http://google.com/alerts (note that you’ll need to have a Google login to use the service). For each Alert, you need to decide the following:
Caveat: Google Alerts is not guaranteed to be 100% foolproof or reliable. And since it only sends alerts when new pages enter into the top searches means it may not be an exhaustive result for every term. However, it’s a great place to start and helps you cover your bases!