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Tips for spotting rental fraud when house hunting

Roseville are posting tips to make sure people don't get fooled into losing their money.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — After multiple people filed reports about rental fraud, the Roseville police are providing tips on how to spot fraud before you lose your money.

The Roseville Police Department say these four tips could help prevent you from being a victim. 

1. If the price is lower than the market, don't believe it

If you see a price on a rental that is below the market rates in the area you're trying to move to, it's likely too good to be true. According to police, fraudsters tend to advertise rent at below-market levels.

To figure out what is a fair price, research the typical rent cost in the area and look at other properties that are similar in size, location and amenities.

2. Don't pay deposit or first month's rent before you sign a lease

If a landlord or someone trying to sell you a rental property is trying to ask for money before you even see the property or sign a lease, don't do it.

"It's never a good idea to send money to someone you've never met in person for a rental you haven't seen," Roseville police said in a tweet.

If you can't see the rental yourself, have a friend check it out and make sure it looks like what the owners are advertising.

3. "For sale" signs usually mean it's not for rent

"Fraudsters often tell potential tenants to ignore 'for sale' signs at the house," police said.

The listings fraudsters advertise that have "for sale" signs in the yard tend to be from listings that advertise houses for sale, according to police.

4. If they don't communicate by phone calls or meet in person, don't buy it

Roseville police say if the landlord or owner only communicates by email or texts and even claim to be out of the country so that they can't meet in person to show you the property, don't send them money.

They might even have a realistic seeming plan to get the keys in your hands, but the keys will likely be fake.

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