Ways to See If a Housing Ad is Legitimate
You should come to a page that looks similar to this one. Find the search button and click on it.
Enter the street number of the home and the street name in the yellow areas and click search. You will then see the name of the current owner of the home. Click on the Adobe PDF icon under “Card PDF”
In the upper left corner, you will again see the owner’s name and the address of the property. Are the owner’s name and the name of the person in the e-mail the same? If they are not, reply to the e-mail and ask why the owner’s name on the field card is different. If there is no response in a reasonable amount of time, you were most likely e-mailed by a scammer. If you get a response that says the owner is the landlord, ask for a letter from the landlord that it is ok for you to be living in the home. If the property is a condo, ask for a letter from the condo association that it is fine for you to be living in the home. If in a reasonable amount of time, a letter is not e-mailed to you, this is a scam. If the person identifies himself as a Realtor, please see the section on Realtor Scams below.Other areas to check on this card are under the section “Building” and then the subsection “Description”. Make sure that under this area it says “Residential” or “Comm./Res”. If it only says “Commercial”, it is an illegal rental. Next look for “Building”, “Element”, “Heating/Cooling”. If next to “Heating/Cooling” is the word “None”, you may want to consider another housing option as temperatures in May can get as low as 40 F.
Is this Person a Realtor or a Scammer?
Every real estate agent, broker, or realtor MUST list their name, title, company name, address, phone number, and e-mail at the end of every business related ad, e-mail, or post. Take a look at the picture to the right. This was the bottom of an e-mail in response to a student’s Craigslist ad for housing.