Deal locally, face-to-face —follow this one rule and avoid 99% of scam attempts.
- The interested party is communicating from outside the country and
primarily through e-mail.
- There are notable grammatical errors in the e-mail.
- The interested renter wants to use an intermediary or friend to make
- The amount of money being sent is OVER the required deposit amount.
- The potential renter backs out of renting the unit for some reason and
asks for the deposit or overages back.
We want to stress that there are genuine requests for housing rentals coming from abroad, but it is important to use caution.
- Never accept more payment than the amount you request and never pay anyone you haven’t met in person.
- Always ask for references.
- Google the potential renter’s name to see if anything comes up that is of concern.
- Inspect the money orders by holding a note up to the light, and look for a watermark picture of Ben Franklin on the left side. There should also be a dark security thread running to the right of the watermark, with the tiny letters “USPS” facing backward and forward. You can also take the money orders to the nearest post office for examination.
- Take the money order or check to your bank and don’t give any money away until the check is fully processed and approved.
- Beware offers involving shipping - deal with locals you can meet in person – and never wire funds (e.g. Western Union)
- Never give out financial info (bank account, social security, PayPal account, etc).
- Never rent or purchase sight-unseen—that amazing "deal" may not exist.