DORCHESTER, S.C. (WCBD) – The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is warning residents of a new scam targeting people on Craigslist.
According to DCSO, the scam involves fake rental postings.
To avoid falling victim, 1st Rate Property Management and DCSO put out the following tips:
1. Look for pictures that are watermarked in the advertisement. The watermark usually has the company name so it’s best practice to get in touch with the company directly to verify the property is in fact, for rent. Once you verify the property is available, then go through the company to apply. Scammers even go as far to say they are helping the said company, so verify they are an employee by going to that company’s website to see if they have staff listed or see if their e-mail matches with the company name.
2. When inquiring about a property pay attention to the questions that are asked about you as a renter. The red flag here is if you are asked any discriminatory questions in regard to a protected class.
3. Ask to see and read through the entire lease prior to signing or paying anything. In fact, asking for the lease prior to even applying is not a bad idea. 4. Be cautious about paying anything even the application fee prior to viewing the property first. 5. If the ad states they are a private owner- verify the owners name on the county’s assessor page.
6. Most landlords do some sort of screening, so if you inquire about a place and they offer to let you move in without applying or any type of screening, then it is likely a scam.
7. Be cautious when they are pushy with time limits especially with accessing the property through a self-showing box. Scammers tend to target the properties with a self-showing option.
8. Be aware of those that will only text or e-mail. Do what you can to verify the phone number and attempt to call them.
9. Make arrangements to meet at their office to sign the lease and exchange funds.
10. Scams usually have spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
To sum it up, DCSO says that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.