Beware renters: Housing scammers are targeting you

If you're looking to rent a nice spot in Clayton County or South Fulton, the police want you stay on your toes. An influx of "rental scams" are being reported to their offices. Here's how you can spot them:

Police say the offender, or offenders, are pretending to be owners posting supposedly vacant properties on frequented sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

These listings showcasing beautifully renovated units are often at incredibly low prices with grammatical or spelling errors in the description. The "owner" will likely pressure you to lease right away, won't require a credit check, and will ask for money upfront.

The offender may even meet with an interested renter and provide them with a fake lease agreement, asking for a cash deposit. However, they have no legal right to or affiliation with the property.

"Unfortunately, many innocent people have fallen victim to these scams, and we want to help you avoid the same fate," a spokesperson for the South Fulton Police Department said. "If a rental property seems too good to be true, it probably is."

If you believe you have been targeted in one of these scams, you can file a report with your local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission.

Here are some tips for safe renting practices provided by the South Fulton Police Department:

  • Never pay with cash or a gift card, and do not wire money through Western Union.
  • Vet your rental agent. You can look them and the company they claim to represent online.
  • Always press to see a unit in person before paying anything.