Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Western Union & Better Business Bureau Fight Online Rental Scams

As consumers scan the Internet for good deals, particularly on free classified websites, sophisticated scammers are poised to prey on unsuspecting people. The Western Union Company and Better Business Bureau (BBB) announced efforts to promote awareness of scams involving internet transactions for rental properties. BBB Scam Stopper was jointly launched by BBB and Western Union as a site to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of common scams like this one. Online Rental scams generally happen in one of two ways:
Renters looking for a house or an apartment to lease get scammed by someone who poses as an “owner.” Victims come across a place in a great area, at a great price. The advertisement looks legitimate, so they reach out to the “owner,” generally by email. The “owner” says the renter can secure the place by sending money to cover an application fee, security deposit, etc. Often, the owner claims there is a need to move quickly, since others are interested. The prospective renter sends the money, but never hears from the “owner” again.