How the scam works:
(with video below) What if your tenant rents out your house to someone else? Watch the video of this scam here. The victims could be both the owners and the tenants.
Scenario 1 – if you are the owner: You have a nice little investment property that you rent out. It's low maintenance and the rent you pull in is enough to pay the mortgage, so there's not much risk. But one month, the check doesn't come in the mail as it usually does.
Upon visiting the property to give the tenant a stern talking to, you find somebody else living there altogether! Not only have you never seen this person before, but they tell you they gave the rent to someone else in cash! Now you're faced with either kicking them out or paying the mortgage without your rental income for several months.
Watch the video below to see in action the Tenant Renting Out Your House Scam, exposed.
Scenario 2 – if you are the tenant: You find a rental property online. It's a good deal, and the owner says they'll give you an even better one if you pay cash, in advance, for the first six months. Showing you around, you love the place and snap it up. A few weeks after moving in, a man shows up claiming to be the landlord. He says you owe him rent, or he will kick you out. You insist that you've already paid rent, but to a different person. He tells you he'll have to get the police involved.
Explanation: The scammer in both these scenarios is the last tenant. They decided to move out, but didn't tell you, instead, spending the last month of their stay posing as the owner and trying to rent out your place. They handed over the keys and collected the rent in advance for the next 6 months from a new tenant. You will likely never see this individual again. Both you as the owner and the new tenants have been scammed.
How to avoid the Tenant Renting Out Your House scam:
If you are the owner of the house, ask the tenant to show you two pieces of ID when you sign the contract. Make sure they are who they say they are. This way, it won't be hard to find them with the Police. If they plan to pull this scam, they always try to rent a property without the proof of real identity (they might even use fake IDs). Typically, they are from other towns and just move around. If you are very strict asking for more than one document from the beginning, they will know there is no room to play.
If you are the victim at the other side of the spectrum (the buyer who 'purchases' the house from the scammer), don't hand anyone a large cash deposit without asking to see the land title agreement, drafting up a bill of sale and, hopefully, going through a lawyer. Sometimes, people will sell it themselves and if that is the case, make sure you get all relevant information about the individual and the property.
How to report the Tenant Renting Out Your House scam:
You can also report the scammers to the closest Police center and give the description of the criminal. Also, make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided.
How to protect yourself more:
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