Tenants beware: scam agents operate online
It’s the 21st Century. We can do pretty much everything we need to online. Whether it’s ordering food, booking holidays, paying bills; it’s quickly become the norm for it all be done from the comfort of our home/phone/sun lounger. So much so that we don’t even give it a second thought sometimes. Just two clicks and it’s done. Easy peasy.
Living in the online-obsessed world as we do, it has never been more important to be safe online, and while modern technology has its perks, sometimes we need to remember that not everything is as it seems on the internet. You’ve all seen catfish right? There are more online scammers than ever before and just a quick enter of your credit card details means they could do some serious damage – and we mean serious.
Now, we’re all for embracing the online world and technology can be a marvellous thing… however, when the wrong people get behind a computer screen it can mean bad news. Recently, the NLA (that’s the National Landlords Association) had to issue a warning after they found scammers acting as online letting agents who were targeting potential tenants.
Where possible, it’s always best to view a property and meet agents face to face, that’s how you know they are who they say they are. However, for those relocating to a different part of the country or even from overseas, this isn’t always going to be possible. We’ve come up with a few ways to spot a crafty crook and how you can avoid being the victim of an online property scam:
Never wire money over to anyone simply advertising online.
It sounds simple but sending money over at random to anyone is always asking for trouble. Find out more about the agent before you agree to anything, give them a Google and see if they’re a good egg or a bad apple.
Check to see if they’re a member of an official organisation.
In the UK, ARLA are pretty much the top dogs you need to be looking out for. Their logo is a sign that an agent is regulated and doing everything they should. Other organisations to look out for include The Property Ombudsman, NALS and Safe Agent.
Be sure that your agent or landlords uses a Government approved deposit scheme.
Online services, like the DPS, protect your cash and benefits both the tenant and landlord - there’s no excuses for not registering deposits! You have been warned.
Legal stuff may be boring, but it’s the sign of a proper landlord.
Make sure you see contracts, paperwork, receipts…anything that’s official that gives you proof of payment for your future home.
Physical viewings may not always be possible, but why should that stop you?
Pretty much anyone who’s anyone has got a smartphone these days and there are a range of video apps available online which means you can view a property from hundreds, even thousands of miles away. You could even view it from the moon should you need to, although we’re not sure you’d get much of a signal up there.
Just for the record, Ascend are a member of several well-known property organisations so you know we are who we say we are. Our guys have been in the business for years so they know what they’re doing and they know the lettings business inside and out. We do everything by the book and we look after our tenants and our landlords to make sure we have a happy family. To find out more about our top notch service, give us a call today, on 0161 637 8336 for our Manchester office and 0151 305 2577 for our Liverpool office.