In this troubled economy and housing market, renters aren't the only ones who need to watch out for scams and fraud. "Imposter landlords" are just one of the many perils all landlords and rental property management officials have to face.
Imposter landlords have been cropping up all over the country, but the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors (SILVAR) issued a special warning to landlords in Southern California last month.
According to the Los Altos Town Crier, the fake landlords "advertise a home for rent, when it is actually for sale. Prospective tenants who call the phone number provided are then directed to provide an application fee and rental deposit immediately if they want to lease the rental unit."
When the prospective renters contact the listing agency, of course, the property is not for rent, and the would-be tenants are left swindled out of a deposit. The fake Craigslist postings also reflect poorly on the original listers.
The best way to thwart imposter landlords attempting to use your listing is to be aware of the other listings in your area. Searching listings in your ZIP code is a good way to make sure your listing only appears once – under your name.