BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Scams are nothing new in 2019, and one that is gaining traction is the use of legitimate apartment advertisements to sucker a few thousand dollars out of hopeful home hunters.
"It's typically a copy and paste scam," Christopher Mekker of Buffalo City Living said, "Where they grab the material from (real estate websites) and paste it under a false username."
Buffalo is currently seeing a hot rental market, which could play in people's lack of patience during the process.
"I'd say it opens people up to being a little bit more hasty in their decision making process" Mekker said.
According to Mekker, there are a few ways to make sure the listing is legitimate:
1) NY EAccess – This would be for someone who claims to be a real estate broker. Every single broker must be registered, which can be found at the NY EAccess website.
2) Erie County Website – This is if you are renting from someone who simply owns the property. To assure that they are the owners, plug the address into the 100% public Erie County website. This will tell you if the owner of the property matches the individual you are speaking with.
A good rule of thumb is to never agree to exchange money without meeting the individual first, and also seeing the property. If there is not a chance to see the property, DO NOT agree to any lease agreement.
"It's pretty obvious if they can't show you the apartment that they're probably not the owner of the property" Mekker said.
For more information on Buffalo City Living, call them at 222-CITY, or visit their website here.