ForRent.com provides advertising for apartment community owners and managers so that you as a prospective renter can learn about their communities. All the information in an advertisement is provided by these owners and managers, as is any information that you might receive from them through any form of communication. We will be using the term “Landlord” as we share these Fraud Prevention Tips with you (by the way, these tips are educational – they are not legal advice from ForRent.com).
FRAUD AWARENESS GUIDELINES
Knowledge and awareness are the best defense to prevent fraud. Online shopping for an apartment is convenient and easy; you may even be able to lease your new apartment home online. Most Landlords are honest, but occasionally an unscrupulous person will use the Internet to attract a victim. Don’t be a victim!
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT FORRENT.COM AND ITS AFFILIATE WEBSITES:
- WILL NEVER ask you for your password or PIN!
- WILL NEVER ask you to send us any money for any reason!
- DO NOT own or rent the apartments or other forms of housing that may be listed on our website.
- DO NOT evaluate or endorse the apartments or other forms of housing that may be listed on our website.
- DO NOT participate in transactions between you and Landlords in any way.
- DO NOT give instructions on how or where to send in payments such as security deposits or rent.
- DO NOT act in any way as an agent for you or for the Landlord.
- DO NOT take custody of any keys or act as a clearinghouse for your rental application, security deposit or rent.
- DO NOT ask you for personal or financial information via email.
GUIDELINES FOR SAFE ONLINE TRANSACTIONS
Send and receive payment safely. Consider these tips in order to send payment to a Landlord or to receive access to an apartment.
- If a rental offer looks too good to be true, it probably is! Maintain a healthy skepticism.
- Verify the Landlord’s identity. Do addresses and names match up in public records or directories?
- Be wary of sublet situations; here at ForRent.com we have heard about scams involving someone posing as a sublessor; you might get keys in exchange for your money, but the apartment you think you have rented may be occupied by a legitimate renter who was not at all a part of the scam.
- Be cautious of an individual posing as Landlord or sublessor when they are someone outside of the US.
- If at all possible, do not make a rental decision only from photos. Visit the apartment community!
- If much of your rental transaction will be online, verify with whom you are dealing. Never go to an apartment community or a Landlord or sublessor via a link in an email. Always go directly to the site, by typing in the URL.
- Fraud deals often involve wire transfers, overpayment or cashiers checks. Unusual requests involving the transaction may be a signal of a potential scam.
- Use your best judgment in all transactions
- Report suspected fraudulent activity (see further information on this below)
USE EMAIL WISELY
Do not send personal or financial information (such as your social security number, credit card number or checking account number) to a Landlord via email. Email communications are not secure.
STAYING SAFE ONLINE
Passwords, PINs, and Usernames
- Never give out your usernames, passwords or PINs to anyone.
- Always make sure your usernames, passwords or PINs are a combination of letters and numbers.
- Change your usernames, passwords or PINs as frequently as you can, and don’t use the same pins or password for different accounts.
- REMEMBER – ForRent.com (or its affiliated websites) will NEVER ask for your password or PIN.
- Be cautious about opening email attachments. Always make sure you scan them with anti-virus software first. Do not click on links within unsolicited email.
- Do not click links inside an email you do not know is legitimate, even if it is sent from someone you know. Viruses are often hidden in seemingly harmless programs that people share for fun. Because many viruses make use of peoples’ address books, you may receive virus emails from people you know.
- Contact the sender to make sure the email is legitimate, and scan it carefully. Avoid having email programs set to preview email, as this can open a virus email before you have a chance to scan it.
- Be extremely cautious about sending credit card account numbers via email. Requests for you to do so are often scam based.
- When purchasing from a website (or in the case of a Landlord from whom you are renting), make sure it is a secure site before submitting credit card information. Look for the tiny padlock icon that symbolizes a secure site or the web address starts with “https” (The “s” denotes a secure site).
- Credit card purchases can usually be disputed with the credit card company if a problem arises.
- Remember that ForRent.com is never going to ask you for your credit card account information!
Anti-Virus Software/Anti-Spyware and Firewalls
- Protect your computer by using the most updated versions of anti-virus software to scan your system and e-mail for malicious viruses.
- Use anti-spyware or adware programs to remove programs that track your Internet activity.
- Use a firewall to make your computer invisible to outside attackers.
- A firewall is especially critical if you have your computer on a cable or DSL Internet connection that is constantly connected to the Internet.
Security Updates for Operating Systems/Browsers
- Make sure to download, and install security updates for all browsers and operating systems in use on your computer frequently.
- Keeping browser versions up-to-date is critical to computer security, and proper functionality of the latest security elements used in Internet e-commerce.
HOW TO REPORT FRAUD
File a report. File a report at www.ic3.gov with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Administration (BJA). IC3 gives victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism. IC3 in turn alerts authorities by referring reports to the correct law enforcement or regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level.
Let us know about it. If you receive a suspicious email, report it to ForRent.com immediately. Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not change the subject line or send it as an attachment. Simply forward the suspicious email message to us. We will contact you if we need additional information.
VISIT THE SITES BELOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INTERNET FRAUD
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
File a complaint
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Be a Smarter Consumer
Tips to Avoid Online Escrow Fraud
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Consumer Information to Guard Against Fraud
Protect Yourself From Fraud
Important Information About Fraudulent Escrow Sites
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Fake Seals and Phony Numbers: How Fraudsters Try to Look Legit
Looks Too Good To Be True
Website Developed and Maintained by a Joint Federal Law Enforcement and Industry Task Force