Property managers warn people to be on the lookout for potential online rental scams


More than 45 people move to the Charleston area each day, according to numbers released by the Charleston Metro Chamber.

With hundreds of people looking for affordable places to rent, property managers want people to be aware of potential internet rental scams are still out there.

"You want to make sure when you're finding a rental that you talk to someone individually," said Jack Kelly, a property manager at Rent Charleston. "You never want to send money to someone you haven't met."

Kelly said besides meeting a future landlord in person people should be on the lookout for listings on Craigslist that advertise properties in desirable areas at extremely low rents and include all utilities. He also said another major red flag is people asking for potential renters to send money and personal information via mail after which the keys to the property will be shipped to the renter.

"Always see the property first before you send in an application," he said. "Unfortunately a couple of years ago we had a kid come in here ready to pick up his keys and we said we have no idea who you are. He had sent his deposit to somebody, and the poor kid was left in tears."

Property management companies also become victims. Kelly said scammers will screenshot photos of their listings online, manipulate the price, and repost the property.

"It's scary what they can do," Kelly said. "They do it so quickly and it happens so quickly that it's down before we can even complain to Craigslist."

Other signs that a listing might be a scam are when you're asked to drive by the property first to view it, owners who are out of the country, and owners with overseas numbers.

You can report the crimes directly to Craigslist, here, and to the FBI's Internet Scams Division.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off