To be scammed or not to be scammed. THAT is the question…..

I am sure that you’ve heard the stories of people getting scammed (both renters and owners of rental properties).  How can you tell the good guys from the bad guys?  Nationally there have been renters who have lost thousands of dollars because they wired money to someone they thought was the owner.  That money is gone.  Also, renters have scammed owners and moved into vacant homes so that the owner had to evict people who got into the house with an electronic lockbox.  Those costs are lost time in a vacancy on top of the expense to evict squatters.  There are ways to improve your chances of having things go well from both an owner’s and a renter’s perspectives.

Here are tips for both owners and renters to avoid being scammed:


Put a watermark on every picture of the property that is online. (We use our company website URL.  You could use your email address as a watermark.  See photo above for an example)

Place flyers in a stand in the kitchen giving your name, contact information and your screening criteria.

Put a professionally made For Rent sign in the front yard (preferably not the ones from the local hardware store.

If you are using electronic lockboxes for showings install a Nest system or some type of camera at the front door.


If the price for rent seems too good to be true it is probably a scam.

Google the property address online to see where else it is being marketed.  You should see the same house on different sites but for the SAME PRICE

When you go to the house to view the property LOOK.  Look for a sign in the yard or a sign in the window.  Compare the phone number on the sign with the phone number you have been using for the contact on this house.  If they are not the same you are probably being scammed.

Craig’s list is the most “usual” place for scammers to advertise.  If the advertisement OR the contact for the house talks about the owners being out of the country helping orphans or some such story as that I can almost guarantee you that that is a SCAM.

If the ad is written in somewhat “weird” English then it is most likely a scam

Example:  “I have an important Issus I will like to discuss with you and your family. This will be for mutual benefit for both of us as I will like us to work together in securing my interest which I am sure ready to work with you if only you will be willing to assist me on this”

NEVER give your personal info over the phone.

NEVER text your personal info to someone you do not KNOW.

All professional landlords should have an application that you complete.

Never wire money to an account.

Look for a watermark on the photos (a URL or email address etc.) it should match who you are communicating with


Be mindful of details and not too “starry eyed” when it comes to leasing your house or leasing a house.

About the Author:  Kandy Meehan, President of Home Rental Services leasing homes all over the Greater Kansas City area.  Kandy has served as President of the local chapter of NARPM (National Association of Residential Property Managers).  She has also chaired the National Affiliate Committee for NARPM and served on the Long Range Planning Committee at the national level of NARPM.


3 thoughts on “To be scammed or not to be scammed. THAT is the question…..”

  1. One point I disagree with. I am a landlord, and have properties listed online with my phone number. When someone calls to schedule a showing, I require that they text me the full name(s) and birthdate(s) for all adults who will be living at the property. The reason is that, in Pennsylvania, there is an app we can use to run the prospective tenants name, and any criminal, landlord/tenant, etc. actions will come up. I can do this instantly. If the person has no negative records, I drive to the property to show them. If there are negative actions, I ask them to explain the circumstances before getting in my car to show them the property. I can’t tell you how many times a prospective tenant has called to see my property, after they lost their eviction hearing that same day. Doing this saves me countless hours driving back and forth to a property to show it to a person who will not qualify.

    1. Jeff you do make a valid comment, however if a tenant found the property online, and then drove to the property and find the sign at the property and online match and that they all point to a real business with a real website, not just a random person posting a property with no sign, no website, no nothing, just the craigslist ad, then they can be more comfortable that you are who you say you are, the owner of the property or the property manager and would be safe to text

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