Over the past few years, apartment rental scams have become increasingly common. Unscrupulous individuals take advantage of people who are looking for a place to live, taking their money and leaving them with nothing to show in return.
Even though the details of the scam may vary, the basic concept usually remains the same. In essence, the scammer tries to get prospective tenants to pay them money to rent an apartment. For instance, they may ask for an upfront deposit or for the first and last month’s rent. The problem is, the person running the scam doesn’t actually own the apartment or doesn’t have legal standing to rent it. Instead, they just take the money and run.
As you can well imagine, this is devastating for the people who wind up getting scammed. Losing the money that they had set aside for an apartment can leave them facing severe financial difficulties or possibly even homelessness.
Luckily, there are steps that you can take to avoid getting scammed when searching for Champaign, Illinois apartments. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you begin your apartment search:
1. Avoid deals that seem too good to be true. If someone is offering to rent a luxury apartment at a rock-bottom price, it probably is a scam. Trust your gut. If you see a deal that seems absolutely amazing, proceed with extreme caution to avoid getting taken advantage of.
2. Be wary of people who want you to pay a large upfront deposit. Having to pay a security deposit is a normal part of renting an apartment. If someone wants you to make a deposit that seems a lot larger than normal or if they want you to pay up front before signing a lease, it may be a red flag.
3. Never agree to rent an apartment without seeing it in person first. A lot of times, scammers convince people to send them money through the Internet after showing them photos of an apartment. Never send money to someone without actually visiting the apartment or without meeting them in person.
4. Be wary of landlords that don’t check your credit or don’t seem overly interested in your past rental history. Any real landlord will want to know more about your financial history to make sure that you are a good tenant.
The most important way to protect yourself when searching for Champaign, Illinois apartments is to listen to your instincts. Avoid any deals that feel wrong to you or that raise red flags, no matter how much you want the apartment that is being advertised.