How to Avoid Rental Property Scams Online


How to Avoid Rental Property Scams Online blog post image

In a digital world, we do everything we can to maximize our clients’ exposure online in order to rent their homes quickly. Here at California Leasing Property Management, we have seen everything when it comes to scams! 

We’ve got some tips and ideas for our potential rental home tenants for making certain that you don’t engage a scammer or get taken advantage of one. 


We love the convenience of having everything in one place online, and being able to syndicate our rental homes to the entire country, but with that reach also comes the potential for scams! 

Craigslist seems to be the most likely place to find a scammer. How it works is a scammer will copy and paste, a legitimate listing for a rental property, and repost it with their contact information, PLUS a very low price for monthly rent. Oftentimes, they will copy the images with the companies watermark on it, and that should be a big sign that this listing is inaccurate and could be a scam. 

Here’s what watch out for with a potential scam: 

  • Low Monthly Rent 
  • Watermarked Images 
  • Will only communicate via Email 
  • Asks for personal information via email only, and does not have a service to run credit or verification of information
  • Asks for a wire transfer of first months rent and security deposit, and the destination is usually out of the country
  • They will promise to mail you the keys when the wire clears

Bottomline, no legitimate landlord should require you to fill out an application or give them money before you have been able to see the inside of the home.


Here are some things you can do to avoid getting scammed:

  • Check property management sites like for verified property listings. 
  • Do a title search to see who the names of the actual homeowners are on title
  • Request a property showing before completing any forms or applications. 
  • Check if the owner has a recent Notice of Default or says they are doing a loan modification. Stay clear if so. 
  • Google the address to see if it’s listed anywhere else online.
  • Request identification and proof of ownership
  • If they can’t get on the phone with you, that’s not a good sign and they are probably not the actual homeowners. 


It’s important to remember that working with a professional property management company like California Leasing Property Management, gives you the comfort of knowing that you and your security deposit are secured.