HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvanians are being warned of a "sophisticated" rental scam.
According to Attorney General Michelle Henry, scammers are using fake ads and altering existing, legitimate ads to obtain personal information, security deposits and rent payments of victims.
Scammers reportedly take ads from legitimate rental companies or real estate listings and alter the ad by changing the contact information or hacking the actual realtor's email account.
Some scammers will place ads for properties that are not on the market.
The scammer can then obtain personal information from an interested consumer during the "application process" and they may even illegally collect payments.
“We are approaching summertime and that means college students heading to school in the fall will need to make living arrangements, so beware of these fraudulent listings that appear to be the real thing,” Attorney General Henry said. “If a landlord refuses to meet in person and show the property, that is usually a strong indicator of a scam.”
Here are some tips to best protect yourself:
- Being wary if you cannot physically see the property.
- Confirming with whom you are dealing.
- Not wiring payments for application, security deposit, or first month’s rent.
- Not purchasing gift cards for payment.
- Not providing your Social Security number without verifying with whom you are dealing