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Foreclosure Scam: Renting Foreclosed Homes

Currently, the rental market is booming. However, renters looking for rental properties need to beware of a new foreclosure scam that is cropping up in various places across the country. Scammers are targeting renters in several different ways.
 
In some places, such as Seminole County, Florida, scammers are running this foreclosure scam by putting “for rent” signs in yards and taking out ads online advertising rental properties. Then they pose as agents and collect first month’s rent and security deposits, which renters pay before realizing they cannot reside in the home.
 
The same type of foreclosure scam has been seen in other areas, such as Las Vegas, Nevada, Seattle, Washington and Phoenix, Arizona. However, in these states, scammers have actually been breaking into bank foreclosures, changing the locks and renting out these homes for months at a time. One woman in Seattle, Washington rented one of these homes for eight months before finding out she had been tricked by a scam, then having to vacate the home.
 
Arrests have been made in several states, but this foreclosure scam is still continuing to be a problem that prospective renters need to be aware of. Many of the scammers have been using Craigslist as a way to list these homes, so prospective renters using Craigslist to find a rental property need to beware.
 
No one wants to sign a new lease, pay the rent and security deposit and then find out that they cannot move into the home or that they have to move out. The good news is that there are ways consumers can avoid accidentally renting a foreclosure that is a part of one of these foreclosure scams.
 
Authorities are cautioning the public to try to avoid being taken by a scam by making sure they find out if the home is a foreclosure. Ownership of properties can easily be verified by checking with the right county office. If a property management company is supposedly offering the home for rent, checking out the authenticity of that company is important as well.
 
Potential renters should be aware of certain red flags that may signify a scam. Some of these red flags include proprietors not wanting to have a rental contract, only accepting cash for a deposit and first month’s rent and asking for deposits that are abnormally small. Also, if you think you may have come across a scam, it’s important to notify the policy in your area.

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