With the hot rental market in Spokane right now, scammers are trying to get a piece of the action. The Better Business Bureau released a new study Tuesday showing how scammers across the country are taking advantage of hot rental markets like ours. 
It turns out they are going after the long-term rental market, as well as the short-term and vacation rental markets, meaning anyone could fall victim to one of these scams. 
The study shows that 43% of people looking for a rental property found a scam listing, and people lost a record $37 million in rental scams this year alone.
Here are some of the common things you can look out for to find out if you're being scammed:
  • LOW PRICES: If it seems a little too good to be true, it probably is. If the price seems low for a really nice place, it's possible that it's a scam. Compare other similar properties to be sure. 
  • FAKE PHOTOS: Do a reverse Google Image search on the listing photos by dragging the photos into the search bar. Often times, scammers will take stock photos or the photos from a real listing for their fake listing, making it that much harder to tell that you're being scammed. If you can find the photos somewhere else, it's probably a scammer.
  • BAD GRAMMAR: Lots of grammatical errors can sometimes indicate that a scammer wrote the listing.
  • SPEED AND PRESSURE: This is probably the biggest one. If someone is trying to pressure you to pay early in the process, it's probably a scammer. 
"They try to be able to get your money as fast as humanly possible and that might be not going out to go and actually show you the property, not being able to have you see a floor plan, or any sort of information on it, they want that money first, and once they get that money, a lot of the times, they just disappear," BBB's Tyler Russell said.
Scammers don't discriminate, they'll use any of the rental sites you might also use, like Apartments.comZillow.comTrulia.comRealtor.com, and Homes.com. All of those sites warn about rental scams, but no site can really be immune to them.
You can always check vacation rental or property management companies on the BBB website, you can find out their rating and what complains have been lodged against them. They also have a Scam Tracker  that can be helpful when trying to find out if you're being scammed.
If you do end up losing money in a scam, contact local police first. Then, you can reach out to the BBB, the FTC, and the Attorney General's Office as well.