Postlets listing concerning all people contacted are out of the country for the coming year? How does this work?

Asked by sheila sandford, Long Beach, CA Sat Dec 28, 2013

How do you trust someone that is abroad and want you to send info and money

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This question was asked from this property: http://=www.trulia.com/rental/3141388600-328-E-65th-St-Long-Beach-C… target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.trulia.com/rental/3141388600-328-E-65th-St-Long-B…

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Daniel Modin, , Long Beach, CA
Sun Dec 29, 2013
If they are abroad and want you to send money, 99% chance it is a scam. Maybe 1% chance that it is not. Otherwise they could ask you to wait until they come back (if its a short trip) or arrange with someone else to take care of their business while they are out... Scams are just too common nowadays. Even if someone meets you in person and has keyes to the property, doesn't always mean that they are the real landlord. Don't be afraid to ask them for their ID, and if they provide you with a business card, check with their office too. Also, be wary of high move-in and low rent, that lures people in. It gives a scammer enough money upfront and then they disappear. I, personally, charge high deposits on my rentals, but I allow tenants to break it down in 2-3 monthly installments.
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat Dec 28, 2013
Hi Sheila,

Rental fraud via online postings continued to be a problem in 2013.

Bottom line: you have to be careful; many would-be Renters have provided deposits only to find the person who placed the ad did not even own the property and their deposit has vanished.

If you find yourself interested in a property where the owner/Landlord cannot meet in person I have a few suggestions before you provide a deposit and any confidential information:

a) See if you can find the property using the “owners” name at http://www.blockshopper.com

b) Until the adoption of California Government Code Section 6254.21; which, blocks all state and local agencies from providing home address (and other information) of an "elected or appointed official" you could easily check the County’s online public tax records to confirm a property's ownership. However, at the very least, you can obtain information on a property an owner should know if you want to toss a few vetting questions to test the credibility of the "owner". Yes, the scammers have access to the same database, so do not drop your guard.

c) Drive by the property for clues regarding the property’s habitation.

d) Contact a Realtor® and ask if they can confirm any recent transaction history by the "owner".

e) If you do meet the "owner" in person ask to "take a quick peek" at their Driver's License to confirm identity; although, if they are a "Scammer" they might have a fake one! Therefore, multiple forms of ID should be obtained if at all possible.

f) Ask “a Realtor® friend” to research whether a Notice of Default or Trustee Sale has been recorded, which would indicate the owner may lose, or has lost, the property to foreclosure. Regarding this last point see, you would have some protections via:

CA's "Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act" - need to know info!
http://tinyurl.com/auwnnfe

These links might also prove useful:
http://docs.Steven-Anthony.com/Landlord-TenantGuideCA2010.pdf
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/renters-rights

Finally, and most importantly, stay safe (always bring a friend if you can) and don't let the need for finding a rental overpower your gut intuition!

Best of luck with your search and subsequent move.

-Steve
0 votes
Jeremy Lehman, Agent, Garden Grove, CA
Sat Dec 28, 2013
Don't trust them. Follow your instincts. A lot of the listings you see are scams. If someone can't meet you at the property, it's ALWAYS a scam, and sometimes when they meet you, it can be a scam too.
0 votes
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