Agents, Freddie Team Up to Crack Down on Landlord Fraud

Scam artists are posing as landlords and are advertising foreclosed homes as rentals, a growing group of real estate agents warns.

These scammers dupe unsuspecting renters by offering up properties they claim are for rent — which are often bank-owned and which they have no stake in. Then, these scammers often request personal credit information from the would-be renters and at least two months of rent up front for the lease.

Many of these would-be renters don’t even realize they’ve been duped until after their moving truck has already pulled up to the curb, or in some cases, until they’ve already moved in. Some fake landlords are able to get the locks changed on the properties, allowing these would-be renters to move into the property, only later to face an eviction by the true property owners.

Freddie Mac’s fraud unit has teamed up with about 2,300 real estate professionals who list Freddie HomeSteps homes to crack down on such fraud. Freddie Mac is asking for real estate professionals’ help in spotting the fraudulent rental ads and to report it when they do.

They’re also working together to try to spread the message to would-be renters to be careful when they rent a property that they don’t get duped. For example, they’re encouraging would-be renters to check with their county recorder on who truly owns a property, conduct a search to see if the property is for sale, and contact a listing agent if a “for sale” sign is ever posted on a property they are trying to rent.

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