Online marketing has expanded the landlords’ reach for potential customers. They can promote ads without spending a ton of cash. However, easy access also has its downside with the rise in online scamming.

It can be hard to control and keep your ads from being used by scammers. Typically, scammers are very active during the marketing stage, when landlords are advertising their units to attract new renters.

The devastating effect of being involved in a scam, even if you were also a victim, is that you end up losing the trust of prospective renters. Your reputation suffers even if you did not play a hand in duping potential tenants.

To help avoid the ill effects of a scam and preserve your business reputation, you need to learn more about the process that scammers take. Awareness helps you avoid being a victim.

Common Scam Situations to Watch For

Your Property Ads and Images Are Used

Since landlords invest heavily in online advertising, scammers used these photos as their own to trick potential tenants into inquiring and handing in their money. The scammer pretends to be the landlord of the rental ad they stole online, and then they will interact with an interested party to get money from the encounter.

Money Is Asked by Scammers Right Away

Since the objective of a scam is to grab the money as fast as possible, scammers usually hurry and pressure potential renters to release their rental funds right away. They would act as if many potential tenants are competing to rent the same property, so the renters would want to make a reservation deposit immediately.

calculator with money arround it

A Scam Is Suspected by the Tenant

Once the money is received by scammers, it will be hard to trace them. If they message a tenant daily, then the contact becomes infrequent. This leads to the potential tenant getting confused about the lack of contact by the perceived landlord. Doubt emerges and the renters begin to entertain the thought of being a victim of a scam.

Still, some won’t be able to catch on yet until they make a property inspection to the rental they were interested in. They would then learn about the deceit, which leads to distress after parting with their reservation money.

The negative effect of this situation is when the potential tenant associates the real landlord with the scam and thinks that it was the owner of the property who masterminded the whole ordeal.

As a landlord, being blamed for the scam can impact your rental business, since the actions of a scammer are not in your control. The word can spread about what happened and the victim can alert their social network to avoid dealing with your rental, which is unfair to landlords since they were also victimized.

Tips Tenants Can Follow to Avoid Being a Scam Victim

two people sharing a handshake

Potential tenants can avoid being duped by scammers by engaging in a series of actionable steps to protect themselves. They can:

  • Schedule a property viewing
  • Find out who the real landlord is before engaging
  • Reach out to previous and current renters of the rental unit
  • Research and verify the landlord and rental information before depositing money as a reservation for the property

What Are the Signs of an Online Scam?

Spotting the signs of scams early helps renters avoid being victimized. If they are alert to the process of scams, then no money will reach the scammers.

Here are some of the common signs of online scams:

  • You will notice that the rate of the rental is attractively low compared to other similar property types in the area
  • It is hard to set up a property viewing with a landlord since they are always unavailable to conduct a property showing in person
  • The reservation costs of a property tend to be higher
  • The scammer will ask for personal or financial information that is not typical

computer on a wood desk next to a notepad and a cup of coffee

Ways Landlords Can Protect Their Rental Property

Experienced landlords often partner with reputable property management companies to ensure that their rentals are successfully run.

These property managers offer a full range of services that help make the operation efficient from marketing and tenant screening to property maintenance.

It can be tough for one person to oversee the daily tasks required by landlords to maintain the upkeep of their rentals. The property management services will also extend to protecting landlords from online scammers. They will keep an eye on potential scam incidents and monitor suspected fraudulent activities. Upon gathering enough data, they will stop scammers from carrying out their plan to deceive prospective renters of your rental unit.


Keeping your rental safe and secure from online scammers can require the dedicated support of a trusted property manager. Mark Thomas Properties Property Management has a solid reputation in the industry and offers comprehensive services and the best strategies, and practices to ensure scammers won’t use your property to support their fraudulent actions.

In case we spot any of your rental ads being used on another website, we immediately have that ad taken down. We can be trusted to safeguard your rental property to protect your business interests.

Contact Mark Thomas Properties Property Management today to find out how we can help in the success of your rental business. Our team has local expertise, ample resources, and effective strategies for optimizing your rental income. We offer different property solutions that align with your goals and will fit the needs of your unique rental property.