Phoenix.org News Staff
Phoenix-area renters apparently are savvier than many Americans when it comes to rental scams.
Apartmentlist.com reported that while 41.5 percent of Phoenix renters “have encountered a listing they suspected was fraudulent,” only 2.4 percent have actually lost money – substantially less than the 17.6 percent of renters nationwide who have lost at least $2,000.
The site said an estimated 5.2 million renters across the country have lost money in a scam.
“Alarmingly, millennials, aged 18 to 29, are 42 percent more likely to have lost money in a rental scam. When renters get caught in a scam, they often lose big: One in three renters lost $1,000 or more when scammed,” said apartmentlist.com, adding:
“Fraudulent listings tend to advertise rentals at a below-market rate, so renters with a tighter budget or less familiarity with the local market are more likely to believe scam listings are real.”
Rental fraud occurs “when someone claiming to be a property manager or landlord, in certain cases the actual landlord, tries to rent a property that doesn’t exist, isn’t their rental or is substantially different than advertised,” it said.
“Scammers try to collect an application fee, security deposit or rent before the prospective tenant recognizes the scam. When searching for their next home, renters are putting sensitive information on the line and must pay a hefty security deposit up front.”
It advises that because “critical information and funds can easily tempt scammers,” renters should “look out for potential schemes,” such as listing nonexistent amenities.