Rental Listing Scams on the Rise in Las Vegas, Better Business Bureau Warns
LAS VEGAS, NV – There has been a recent and significant rise in the number of fake rental listings in Las Vegas as criminals hoping to take advantage of the intense demand for housing options are attempting to scam unwary individuals and families by way of social media.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Nevada is saying that prospective renters should be very cautious when responding to advertisements for apartment or rental properties on Facebook and other similar sites.
According to reports, once such victim of the uptick in rental scams is a woman named Christine – who declined to use her last name – yet was subjected to a “scary” experience when answering one particularly sketchy listing for a home in Henderson on Facebook Marketplace.
“I was desperate for a place, when you’re in that mindset and have kids,” she said. “He said he was the owner of the house. He said he wouldn’t be able to meet me. He would be able to give me a key code. I instantly thought that was a little weird.”
After she toured the property by herself by entering it via the back door – as per the instructions she received – the “owner” proceeded to email her a generic rental application. Suspicious, she had a friend look into the property.
“The house was on Zillow, more than what the guy was asking,” Christine said. “I got scared and I blocked him.”
The BBB said that it’s common practice for scammers to masquerade as landlords or property managers of rental units they don’t even own – especially ones that have been vacant for extended periods of time – in order to separate the unaware from their hard-earned money.
In order to remain safe when looking for a rental, the BBB suggests adhering to the following guidelines:
- Go to reputable realtors, leasing agencies or property managers.
- If you’re dealing directly with a landlord, confirm they own the property.
- Pay for any fees or applications with checks or credit card fees; you can easily dispute charges.
- Never use Venmo, Zelle or any form of electronic payments for a stranger.
- Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker.
- Facebook advises users to report fraudulent listings or postings.
Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.