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Scam Alert: Renters targets by fake landlords

The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is issuing a warning about rental scams.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Renters need to be on alert for scams targeting people looking to move

The Better Business Bureau of Upstate New York is issuing a scam alert for a common rental scam.

In the scam, a fake landlord posts a property that looks great and has nice amenities. BBB reports there are often real photos and description from other websites. 

The landlord will claim to be unable to show the property to the person reaching out, saying something like they are our of town, according to BBB. They also urge the renter to act now so they will send the money without seeing the property. 

In other situations, the fake landlord will have a renter fill out an application for the property, which includes personal information like a Social Security number, according to BBB. 

The Lackawanna Police recently posted on Facebook, warning residents about these scams circulating in the area. They are seeing scams requesting money on peer to peer payment apps or gift cards. 

🚨 PLEASE READ👇🏼🚨 We would like to make you aware of the current scam that has been circulating throughout the area....

Posted by Lackawanna Police Department on Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The BBB is offering the following tips to avoid falling victim to these scams:

  • Watch out for deals that are too good. Scammers lure you in by promising low rents, extra amenities, and a great location. If the price seems much better than elsewhere, it may be a scam. 
  • Search online for similar properties. Do a quick search for the listing, scammer’s email address, or phone number. If you find the same as listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.
  • See the property in person. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised.
  • Don’t pay a stranger with cash transfer apps. Many scammers now ask for payments through peer-to-peer apps. Only use these apps with people you know. It's ok to pay a landlord you trust with a payment app, but don't use this payment method to secure an apartment or pay a deposit. 

More information about renters and moving scams is available on the BBB website.

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