Red Flags for Rental Property Scams
Use caution with the following:
• Long-distance inquiries.
Take extra care in long-distance situations, especially from users in foreign countries. We have seen a number of scam attempts that involve individuals in foreign countries who say they are interested in purchasing or renting out a home.
• Requests that you send a check or money order, or wire funds.
Most scams eventually involve such a request, and there are many variations. A scammer may have convincing reasons why they need to deal remotely. They may wire overpayment of funds to you and request that you wire back a refund. They may ask you to use a false online “escrow service”. Do not wire funds to anyone you haven’t met personally. Also, do not accept wire funds that you did not initiate.
• Requests for personal and/or financial information.
With identity theft on the rise, it is a good general rule to provide your personal/financial information sparingly, and only to trusted sources.
• Offers to facilitate a home purchase or loan or rental by an individual claiming an affiliation with Zillow.
Zillow acts only as a source of information and is not involved in any transactions between buyers and sellers, renters and landlords, or borrowers and lenders. Any such offers are fraudulent activity.
• Suggestions to use Zillow for money exchanges.
Zillow does not handle money exchanges between buyers and sellers or tenants and landlords. Anyone telling you otherwise is trying to scam you. (See scam example #2 below).
• Typos, grammatical errors and inflated stories.
Emails that are filled with spelling and grammatical errors are usually a sign of fraud. Also, the sender might claim the importance of themselves or the person they are representing (“I work with the United nations development program”) and could also weave an involved story about family issues.