Loker Law

What Should I Know About Rental Identity Theft in California?

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When looking for an apartment or other rental property, you may feel exhausted by the hours spent searching for the perfect location. However, after what feels like sifting through hundreds of listings, you find the ideal place – close to work, allows pets, and has amazing amenities for less than your budget. After applying, you never hear back from the landlord and notice your credit score has drastically dropped. Unfortunately, this can be a sign that you’re a victim of rental identity theft. Unsure what this is or how to proceed? Keep reading to learn how a California identity theft victim lawyer can assist you in recovering your identity.

What Is Rental Identity Theft?

Rental identity theft occurs when someone lists a fake rental property to get personal and financial information from potential renters. Generally, the scammer will duplicate a legitimate listing from an actual property management company or create an entirely fake rental ad to draw in those looking for apartments and other units.

When you apply for an apartment, you must provide considerable personal information. This includes your social security number, as many landlords and leasing agents run background and credit checks on applicants to ensure they would be good renters. However, when this information is provided to a thief, they can take your information and use it to steal your identity.

What Are the Signs a Rental May Be a Scam?

When you find an apartment, taking the necessary steps to determine whether or not the listing is legitimate is critical. Generally, one of the most significant indications as to whether or not a place is real is the price. If you find a luxury four-bedroom apartment for $900 a month listed online, you may think it’s too good to be true. In reality, it likely is. It’s crucial to research the average price for rental units in the area you’re searching to ensure the price is consistent.

Additionally, if you’re not allowed to tour the property before sending in your application and deposit, or the landlord refuses to meet you in person, it can be a sign that it is a scam.

Finally, if you have doubts about the property, you may find that the entity responsible for listing the property isn’t associated with a management company, or the house that comes up when you search for the address does not match the pictures listed online, it is likely a scam intended to steal your identity.

If I’m a Victim, What Should I Do?

If you believe you are a victim of rental identity theft, you may panic. Not only can this impact your financial future, but it can also directly impact your search for an apartment, as not legitimate property management companies may not want to rent with you due to your low credit score.

As such, connecting with an identity theft attorney from Loker Law as soon as possible is in your best interest to receive the justice you deserve. Our firm understands how anxiety-inducing it can be to learn that your identity was stolen, which is why we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to guide you through these times and help you reclaim your identity. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you by scheduling a free consultation.

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