It's become almost as popular as those emails from abroad from someone who desperately needs your bank account details to transfer their fortunes. Some people still fall prey to that one. However, there's another scam out there ready to hijack your cash, and it can be found all over the world.
Real estate rental scams are popping up everywhere. The general premise goes like this: The renter finds a property listing -- usually on Craigslist, Viewit.ca, Kijiji, or a similar free listing site -- and contacts the landlord by email. The landlord has a seemingly respectable job, like a doctor or missionary, that requires him or her to travel for work. As the landlord is away, he or she asks the renter to provide a 'deposit' to their bank account and in return the landlord will mail a key to the renter so they can view or move into the apartment. However, the renter never receives the key because the apartment never existed in the first place.
Now some of these scams can get tricky. The landlord for instance may not ask you to put money directly in their bank account, but rather, deposit the money via MoneyGram
into your friend's account. They say that they just want to ensure that you have funds to pay the rent in the future, so all you have to do is show them the receipt of the transfer amount. Unfortunately, anyone with that information is able to pick up the funds from MoneyGram.
So how can you spot these scams at first glance? There's a few things rental scams have in common.