Robin Castro, Home Buyer in Fern Park, FL

Why is it that most of the lower rentals that I see on Trulia are turning out to be scams? This seems to be a trend for rental houses I'm looking at.

Asked by Robin Castro, Fern Park, FL Wed Jan 15, 2014

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Robin, please don't take great offense at my response to your question. I know you will be disturbed to some degree, but it may be unavoidable.
The only reason scams appear is because they are PROFITABLE! Some one IS using Western Union to send the deposit to the owner located in Nigeria.
As long as people like you are using Trulia and Zillow and Craigslist to find your real estate solutions, you are contributing to the PROFIT stream. THAT truth is the correct answer to your WHY?
Here's my WHY?
Why have you not picked up the telephone and called ANY REALTOR in Green Valley to help you in your search for a rental? (Note: I did not say call the agent on the advertised rental)
The professionals are the ones who have and can give access to the reliable. legitimate inventory.

Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
Palm Harbor University High School distirct
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
I have been trying to help a friend and I have not been falling for any of these but really wanted to understand how to turn these people in. I'm sad that anyone would fall for these. I didn't take offense at all, I know some people do give money to these people. I happen to be a bit more on top of this kind of thing. I feel sorry for desperate people that don't know better. Thanks for the advise.
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014
good answer
Flag Thu Jan 16, 2014

the rental market in most areas is as hot as the sales market. whenever the market is hot, the snakes come out of the weeds. The Bible says 'the sun brings forth the adder'. Be careful, do your homework and you might want to consider a good property manager to help you.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 1, 2014
It goes back to the old Adage, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". Another key indicator is some type of out of the country twist. The fake property owner has some reason for being located out of the country. Usually something like, they have found work out of the country, and they need to rent their house. A good way to flush them out is to ask something about the local area. Ask what restaurants are good to eat at or how far their house is from a hospital, or something like that. They usually can't answer these types of questions. They will typically want you to send some money to them. Of course never send money to anyone you don't know.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 24, 2014
The scammers want to scam as many people as possible so they make is such a great deal that people do not even think and mail a check to try and lock it up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 24, 2014
This problem is not exclusive to Trulia. Craigslist has had a problem with rental scams for years. The one constant in all of them is that the rental rates and deposit requirements always seem to be too good to be true. That's because they are. If you're looking for a rental in particular area, and 4 of the 5 available units are priced at $1200/month, and one is priced at $700/month. It will more than likely be a scam. Property Management companies are one alternative to consider. Otherwise, be on your guard.

Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 23, 2014
I don't have a good answer to your question, but I think it's awful people feel the need to fraud and steal. And unfortunately, there is very little recourse. Just my 2 cents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 19, 2014
Hallmarks of a typical on-line rental scam:
1. Rent is lower than it should be for the subject property.
2. Property cannot be seen
3. Because the owner is out of state or out of the country. Just drive by and peak in the windows.
4. Sent money (wire good funds, no personal checks) and the keys will be mailed to you.
Often accompanied by a story that the owner had to relocate suddenly and they are looking for a good family to watch over their beloved house until they return…thus the low rent.

Also, watch out for similar scams in which the “landlord” wants you to fill out a rental application which provides information of a personal nature which the scammer can use to steal your identity.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
@Bob - "You want to be in a real relationship, free dating sites online are NOT the place to meet a quality mate"

Not the best analogy, imo - I know a lot of people who would strongly disagree with you on that, as they are now married, quite happily, to people they met online!.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
@ Debra - fair enough. But I do believe if you want the best rental it is not found online, but word of mouth.
Flag Fri Jan 17, 2014
Robin: the rental homes you want - low priced, high quality houses - are getting RENTED really quickly without using places like Trulia or Zillow or the newspaper. If you/ "your friend" truly wants a great value rental home, you are going to have to find a professional to assist you. It is surprising that so many put more faith in the internet than professionals.

Online dating is always touting their successes, but then you ask a real friend and they tell you it is terrible. You want to be in a real relationship, free dating sites online are NOT the place to meet a quality mate.

Want a car? There are plenty of online sites. But you sure wouldn't buy a car without driving it, having a mechanic check it out, getting background info on the car. I recently needed a car and asked friends, family and co-workers. I found a fantastic deal by word of mouth. Much better than any of the online stuff.

So the long and short of it, you have a large list of Realtors who took the time to answer your question. Good place to start with TELEPHONE interviews, pick an agent, sign an agency (CONTRACT) and have a professional help you get a great home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 17, 2014
The unfortunate thing is that we as agents can't stop it from happening.
Trulia, Zillow... are all online advertising options not controlled by NAR, so bad people can prey on good people then pull there post and disappear.
Be careful and make sure you can speak to and even see your potential landlord
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Trulia is the not the market or regulated by the NAR.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Robin - the unfortunate thing , and simple answer is, (and this goes hand in hand with what Annette shared) you are putting way too much trust in an online site for your real estate information.

You're not alone - many consumers do that.

Those of us working in this industry know how unreliable online "listings" can be.

Work with a local agent so you do not waste any time...or money.......with a scammer or on outdated listings!

Best wishes............
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
To flag a post you just go to the property details page and under the address there are three buttons with icons next to them: Save, Flag, and More. If you click on the Flag button it will prompt you for more information.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
Robin, there is nothing we (agents answering questions) on trulia can do. And trulia, the website really has no way of policing these listings. So....your only and best option is to FLAG the listing which will notify trulia, and they'll remove it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 16, 2014
You have to be very careful when you see below market rents. Never mail your security deposit to these ads. I would demand to meet the landlord or property manager in person. You can also review property records to confirm owner.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 15, 2014
also, if anyone says they cannot show you the home in person (they claim, for a variety of reasons, they are out of the area) ..............and they ask you to WIRE money for keys..........RUN in the opposite direction!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 15, 2014
The internet is full of scams. You have to use common sense. If it seems to good to be true, it likely is. Here in Denver I often see that scammers Hy-jack homes for sale and re post them with ridiculously low rent in hopes that they can con someone into sending them money. I also see it happen to Rental homes where someone will re-post a legitimate add and reduce the rent by about half and again hope that someone sends them money. Most only last a short time before someone flags it for removal, but it only takes a short time for someone to fall victim. If in doubt find a Realtor you can trust and ask them to look in public records and see who really owns the home, this can help you determine if it is a scam. If it is owned by a bank, then it is a scam.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 15, 2014
how do you turn these people in? I'm not seeing anything on Trulia to turn in the frauds and they just keep coming back. Is there a place these can be turned in?
Flag Wed Jan 15, 2014
The low price is the draw. You think you are getting a deal and so you go along more than using common sense. Until it's too late.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 15, 2014
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