Rental Scam

Rental Scam

We recently saw a San Jose home for rent where the owner had simply posted a FOR RENT sign on a Tree with an arrow pointing to the house!!  Not sure how effective these marketing techniques are, but identifying a rental property like that opens the door for San Jose Rental Scams that we keep hearing about.  During our recent attempts at marketing a San Jose , one potential tenants got the impression that we were scamming her when we mentioned the $20 fee that we require to process application.   She was calling from Colorado and we had even offered to show the unit to one of her relatives or friends.

So, let’s not kid ourselves.  Rental Scams and Rental Fraud are alive and well in San Jose.  Here are the Top 4 steps you can take to protect yourself against Rental Scams for your San Jose home:  

1) Create Google Alerts:   Set up Google Alerts with your property address, so Google can notify you if someone searches the address of your property.

2) Don’t List Address:  Trulia has a neat option where the Property Owners can list their rental while blocking the exact location of the property.  This goes a long way to prevent scammers from collecting fees for showing the property since they won’t know where it’s located. However, this solution needs work since Trulia uses Google Map API which shows the location of the property on the map and it would not take that much effort for scammers to find the address of the property.

You could call Trulia Customer Service and have them block the Google Map API on your listing, but that’s extra effort which most Property Owner won’t even imagine to consider.

3) Direct To your Website: Set up daily updates on the availability of your rental property from your website and accept appointments from directly from your website.  If you are posting to craigslist, encourage the tenants to contact you through the Website.

4) Water Marked Photos:   Use Water Marked photos to protect your photos so they could not be used in other websites or publications.  You can use VisalWatermarket.com , or Impression app on your iPhone to add water marks to your photos before you use them on your websites.  This way, scammers won’t be able to use them if they copy them.

Finally, be on the look out for strange phone calls and odd request.  We had a call from an agent who claimed he was a relocation specialist but was telling us the WRONG address of the property which was not even in Los Gatos!  

What do you do to avoid being scammed?  

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