The City of White Plains Police Department has observed a recent uptick in citizens reporting being the victims of apartment rental scams. These scams often begin with the complainant responding to a posting on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
WPPD would like to provide the following tips to potential renters to avoid these scams:
- Be skeptical of lessors who claim to be out of the country or attempt to rush you to send money under the threat that the rental unit will go to other prospective clients.
- Do not send any money to the lessor until you have physically toured the property and signed a lease. If they have an excuse for why you cannot tour or say they will not provide a lease without a down payment, you should avoid the transaction.
- If the lessor requests that you wire the money to them for a down payment, this should be a red flag. If the lessor requests multiple smaller transactions to reach the agreed upon amount, you should be skeptical of this as well.
- Before sending any money to the lessor, conduct a google search of the address. Often, scammers will use addresses of units that are currently listed for sale due to the better likelihood of the unit being vacant. If a google search reveals the unit/house currently for sale on the market by a reputable real estate firm, avoid this transaction.
- By conducting rental transactions through a licensed realtor, you can avoid the pitfalls of these scams. The fees you may have to pay to a realtor can prevent you from having substantial sums of money stolen from you.
If for any reason you are involved in a rental transaction that you feel may be suspicious, contact this department before sending any money. If the situation seems too good to be true, it usually is. All reports can be referred to the WPPD general line at: 914-422-6111