Idaho is Being Targeted By Rental Scammers Due to Hot Housing Market
People are moving to Boise and the Treasure Valley at a significant pace. The housing market therefore has been touted as one of the top in the country. When something is going good, maybe even too good, and there is money involved, scammers tend to perk up. According to KTVB, Home prices in Ada County rose by a record 45.4%, in just one year! They took the average value of a home last year $360,000. Now that is up to $523,000. Housing and rentals are clearly in high demand.
Locals moving and people who are trying to move here are having trouble finding rentals as it is. The ones that are -or seem to be- available are also going fast, So now you add high dollar amounts with the added pressure of making quick decisions to secure a spot. It is a enticing combo for -dirty rotten- scammers who take advantage of people to steal their money.
The Boise Police Department sees a lot of cases and are getting really good at spotting a fake listing compared to a real one. A lot of cases seem to come from Craigslist and Facebook. One tip was to check multiple websites for the same address or complex. If prices very a lot, say one is way cheaper, it's fake.
According to an interview KTVB did with BPD, Online crime like this tends to be sourced and done overseas, so the money gets transferred to other countries before anything can be done. Also the online accounts are hard to track.
To protect yourself from rental scammers, here is a list of items to look out for courtesy of Boise Police:
Never send money through transfer apps like Venmo and Zelle with a stranger.
Never send gift cards.
Always meet them in person.
Double-check the address through a search engine to see where else it may be posted.
Make sure photos of the listing that have watermarks match with the people you are in contact with.
Be skeptical of Craigslist and Facebook postings.