Rental Basics in 94107>Question Details

Gratoo, Renter in San Francisco, CA

In San Francisco SOMA area I'm very often asked to pay a "Refundable Security Deposit" before viewing. Scams?

Asked by Gratoo, San Francisco, CA Mon Jan 6, 2014

They always say the competition is tough and that I should secure the apartment before viewing. The deposit varies between $1000 and $2000. I'm pretty sure they're scams especially since the email address are often something like What do you think?

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Thanks guys for confirming my doubts. So far I've been reporting them as fraud on Trulia. Is there something else we can do against those people? They kind of spoil the Trulia image with their scams.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
I've only found one legitimate listing through Trulia so far in which the a-hole scammer hasn't asked me for a refundable deposit.
Flag Tue Jan 14, 2014
Please don't send any of these scams money. As a matter of fact, you would help the whole community out by flagging the ad when you come across one.

J.R. Thrasher
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 8, 2014
I wish I could do more than just flagging. There are so many of them and they always come back. It's already a pain finding an apartment without those idiots. What a waste of time.
Flag Wed Jan 8, 2014
You better have some very good pictures, and have gone through the city online to make sure it is something you like. Giving a deposit before viewing just doesn't sound too right.

Yanni Raz
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
Hi Greg,
I wouldn't send any money in advance. I hear from our friends and clients that the landlord/agent ask them to send them money. The reasons could be that they are out of town , deposit the check and then pick up the key later. Some of the worst one that an individual shows the house to many renters take deposits from many of them and he/she even not authorized to rent the unit.

I hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
Scam. That's like marrying someone before you meet them...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
I don't any reason to send money up front. Sounds like a scam.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014

I would always be careful of anyone who requests money up front from you, whom you don't know or have any type of relationship with, and who states that they will return money back to you after anything especially on line.

There are just way too many scams that I am aware of in real estate of people demanding money up front either as a security deposit before viewing, a deposit on a property that they don't own (this is especially true of some short sale or foreclosed properties where they may be unoccupied and some person pretends to own the property), wanting a money transfer because the owner is out of the country, etc.

Often the scams are associated with properties listed well below market rents or market value which is a good way to identify them. If something seems too good to be true it usually is and should raise red flags. There are exceptions, but they are rare. Usually if it is some great deal people are more likely to offer them to friends or people they trust then post it online.

Always check public records for who the owner is before giving money to anyone. You always want to make sure you are dealing with the actual owner.

Best of luck


Greg Bryan
GB and Associates
Cell (415) 640-4341
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 7, 2014
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