Scammed Online. Now What?
Many people hunting for apartments don’t take action after they’ve suffered an apartment rental scam. Some refuse to act because of many strong feelings, like fear, anger, embarrassments, or denial. Others don’t take action because they don’t realize how many options they have. But you can feel empowered just by taking action right after you’ve suffered a rental scam, and your actions might even make it possible to catch the scammer(s), prevent a recurrence, and get your money back.
What Can You Do After a Scam?
If you are a victim of rental scam, here are some things you can do:
Call The Police
If you’ve been scammed, the first thing you should do is to contact your local law enforcement. Even if you are not sure you are pursuing the right option, the information you provide to the police might be enough to apprehend the scammer and help you get back your money. Also, you won’t know if you are the only one who’s been scammed until you contact the authorities. If the scam is already being investigated, then any information you add can make their work easier.
Contact Facebook and the Group Admins
If the scam started from an advertisement or listing, you have to alert people about what have happened. This means messaging group moderators as well as contacting Facebook itself. Scam is a serious issue for many groups (especially ours) and they would be glad to know about problems with their listings. Some moderators even go further to ask users who have been scammed to send them further details for investigation and if the listing is not legitimate, remove it . It is wise to leave a comment on the post to warn other people and help keep them from being scammed too.
File a Complaint With the FTC
If you were scammed of a rental property in the United States, you can report it to the federal consumer property agency, Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can the FTC on toll-free hotline on 1-877-382-4357 or fill out a FTC online form to file a complaint.
Filing a Complaint With the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3)
The victim of a rental scam or third party to the complainant can complain to the IC3. The IC3 can best process these complaints if the right and complete information is sent to them. This is why they request these information when filing a complaint:
- Your name, telephone phone, address, and email
- Financial transaction information
- The names of the subject, telephone number, email address, website, IP address, and permanent address.
- Specific details on what transpired
- Email header(s)
- Any other information that will help to support your complaint
Review the red flags
Although rental scams often strike at the times we least expected. There are some warning signs, however. Some of these red flags include request for money when you haven’t seen the apartment, landlord eager to lease the apartment, too many upfront fees, unwarranted sales pressure and so much more. Get familiar with these red flags and you can easily identify and avoid rental scams. We also outline these red flags in How to Detect and How to Avoid.
When you follow these simple guidelines, you ensure you can find the perfect home without having to worry about being scammed. Ensure you are searching for rentals from genuine and trusted online platforms, which will reduced the risk of being scammed.