How to Avoid Rental Scams

The following tips are intended to help people avoid Craigslist and other rental scams:

  • • Never rent sight unseen. If you're out of town send someone you know to look at the unit.
  • • Verify the name, address, phone number, fax number, address and website of potential landlords and property owners.
  • • Remember if a unit is legitimately for rent you are allowed to enter to have a look around.
  • • Never set up auto deposits or send deposits through the mail without verifying the unit is for rent.
  • • Request a signed contract and get everything in writing.
  • • Try and avoid Craigslist and instead rely on professional listing services like,,, and
  • • Many buildings will have leasing agents on site that can email you information on the property, including photos and videos.


Tips for landlords and property owners who use Craigslist to advertise vacancies:

• Don't post it and forget it.
• Look for duplicates of your ad.
• Create a Google alert for the address that's for rent so if it shows up somewhere else on the web you'll know if someone has duplicated your ad.
• If you flag an ad (the more IP addresses that flag an ad the better) you'll have better luck getting it removed than phoning Craigslist.
• "The best piece of advice we offer is the simplest one," said Pentico, who regularly shares rental tips and industry news. "If something seems like it's too good to be true, it probably is."

If you fall victim to a scam, either as a renter or landlord, please report the incident using the Riverside District Attorney's Real Estate Fraud Complaint Form.


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