Stock photos, toll-free numbers and out-of-town listing agents?
These online rental ads promising high-end properties for low monthly prices are are raising red flags for consumer advocates.
The ads caught our attention so we decided to check on, specifically, here in the Coastal Bend. The ad, a stock photo promising a $400-a-month rent to own home with luxuries like an outdoor pool and spa, a dog run – even a business center with conference room – located on a local golf course.
All designed to pique enough interest to call an 800 number, only to be told that, in order to get a copy of the actual rental listing, a prospect must first enroll in a credit repair program.
We took it to the Better Business Bureau. Here’s what they told us:
If you’re in the market for a rental, the Better Business Bureau offers several tips to avoid getting hurt, including these:
- Never share vital information (like social security numbers or financial information) until you’re completing a rental contract and appropriate credit check.
- Beware low-cost rents in higher-end neighborhoods.
- If the listing does not include a physical address and local number, move on. scammers love to work through email or toll-free numbers. It’s best to work with local listing agents.
- Never make an up-front payment in lieu of a rental contract for that you have not seen and toured.