Tips to avoid a scam in rental housing:

  • Make sure you physically see the property and/or meet the landlord or rental agent prior to sending money
  • Most scammers will come up with a reason or excuse on why they are not able to meet you in person (See real example below)
  • Do not apply to a property until you speak with the landlord or rental agent, if you have any concerns about the property do not apply
    • We recommend viewing the property prior to completing a rental application.
  • Never wire money
  • Be very cautious if a landlord or rental agent is requesting that you:
    • Make a payment and in return they will mail you the keys
    • Send money to a location that is not in the local area of the property that is available
    • Make a payment to an account that is outside the United States
  • Be very cautious if the property seems “too-good-to-be-true” – it probably is. The following should be a red-flag for scams:
    • An unrealistically low rental price
    • Little or no deposit
    • Accepts pets, short-term leases, or is furnished for no additional fees
    • Requires no tenant screening or application
  • Be very cautious if a landlord or rental agent is refusing to speak with you over the phone after you setup a tour
  • Be very cautious if the rental listing contains numerous spelling and/or grammar errors

If you are aware of a rental listing scam, you can report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Compliant Center (IC3). Or you can contact the Federal Trade Commission.

If you suspect or are aware that a rental listing you are messaging on Rent Message is a scam please click the “Report Listing” link on the message page.

For more information on using the Rent Message website please visit our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Example of an actual spam messages: