Recently, the Boise Police Department has taken reports from people trying to move to Boise, or to a different place in Boise, being victimized by rental scams. In each of the cases, the victim finds what appears to be a great property at an incredible price, typically through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or another free listing service. They contact the person through the listing, who gives some excuse why they can only text or email and not show you the property. They have you fill out some basic paperwork and send a deposit to secure the property. In the past, they have asked for money to be wired or gift cards purchased. Recent cases have asked the money to be sent through different mobile cash applications. The person leaves you with a promise that the keys will be sent to you in the mail, however, they never arrive, and you are unable to reach them again to retrieve your deposit.
When looking to rent a property:
- Be cautious of where you look on-line. Scammers will choose sites where it is free for them to post.
- Be wary of the too good to be true deals. If a typical 3 bed 2 bath, 1400 square foot house rents for around $1,500 or more, why is this listed for $1,000 or significantly less?
- Another flag is when the landlord cannot meet in person or talk on the phone. Scammers have used excuses including; an emergency arising and they are out of town, they had to leave on business, etc.
- Always go through the property first. Watch for excuses for why they cannot show the property, including other people living there. In some cases, they have told the victim just to go look in the windows of the property.
- Red flags also include having to mail you the keys. Legitimate rentals generally want to meet renters and provide keys in person.
- Check the address, pictures, or the property description. Often scammers will steal pictures and information from legitimate rental properties or homes for sale.
- Do not wire money, send gift cards, and be cautious of sending money through mobile applications.