The military has given you orders to relocate to a new duty station. Your first family mission? Find a new home.

The enemy? Online scammers.

The first place that most of us look for a new home is on the Internet. Unfortunately, that’s where scammers lurk.

One of the latest schemes circling the market involves scammers taking a legitimate home advertised on the internet, and posting a completely new ad on another site with the same description, information and photos. Let’s say that you’re interested in a home and everything online looks like it is legit. You may have even had good communication with the contact. But now it’s time to fill out a rental application. Here’s where things can get sketchy. 

If you turn over your application to the wrong hands, you’ve just provided the con-artist with all the personal information they need to financially cripple you with unauthorized loans, credit cards, and more. If you go the next step and send in a deposit, you could potentially be out thousands of dollars.

Handing over so much personal data and money can make for a pretty scary situation. Thankfully, you can make sure you don’t fall prey to online rental scams by following these steps.

Just say “no” to these situations:

Verify private homeowners

Verify leasing agents

Be smart and do your homework

Keep a sharp eye for these red flags and do your due diligence on your future home; you could end up saving yourself thousands of dollars in the process. And finally, connect to private Facebook groups if you don’t know anyone in the area and ask for recommended areas to live or avoid. Good luck with your home search!

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