Avoid Self Tour Scams
Self-Guided Rental Tours: Safety, Security, and Scams
Between COVID-19 and the rise of younger renters hitting the rental market, self-guided tours, or “self-showings,” have become a very popular way to tour rental properties. When it comes to self-guided tours, there are many concerns among property managers about safety measures, how to make sure properties are kept secure, and how to make sure prospective renters are kept safe from any potential scams.
Let’s take a look at what a self-showing scam could look like, how you can protect against potential scams, and what you can do to make the property as secure as possible.
What would a self-guided tour scam look like?
Self-showing scams happen when there aren’t enough safety measures in place. Even with lockboxes and one-time-use codes that expire after an hour, scammers have figured out a way to still make money off of prospective renters that are desperate for a good deal, or even just a place to live.
Scammers list properties on Facebook, Craigslist sites. They pretend to be owners or agent and contact users who are looking for the properties.
Keep self-showings under the radar.
ShowingHero does not publicly promote the tour as a self-showing, nor do we have a specific listing site that shows a list of properties that
use self-showings. By keeping self-showings under the radar, this removes your properties as potential targets and helps protect against scammers.
Self-tours is a great tool that allows for multiple showings across various properties at the same time. It saves agents time and company resources and has become the gold standard of showings. However, with any showings, there is always a risk for scammers or damage, and here are a few best practices to follow.
Periodically check the internet for your listings. Many property managers do not post on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace but sometimes listings are duplicated and posted by scammers on sites that are not approved. You can use Google Alerts and input your property address and it will send you a daily email and monitor where your listings are posted. ShowingHero is also constantly reviewing users for suspicious activity and fraudulent behaviour and keeping your properties safe without you having to lift a finger!
It's always a great idea to put up a large laminated signage in bold writing that has your company name, contact info and examples of local suspicious behaviour's such as asking for wire transfers or cash payments to warn your prospects. Reach out to our client success team for best practices and templates you can use :)
Installing a motion sensor or temporary recording device on the property.
Motion sensors inside the unit will alert you to movement inside the property potentially alerting you to unauthorized movement within
Installing a temporary recording device to monitor your unit will help deter and document any inappropriate activity on your property.
Make your presence known at your properties to reduce the potential of wire fraud and scammers impersonating you.
(Giving your prospects the information they need to contact you).
Property managers that state their presence at their properties significantly decrease the likelihood of scammers taking advantage of their prospective renters.
Regularly check the security of your property.
Check windows, doors, and locks for any tampering or damage and do not list your property for self-touring until everything is fixed.
Ensure that your lockboxes are in great condition. Our lockboxes have the option of adding a key ring that helps from keys being lost or stolen. We also suggest adding weather covers if you are dealing with heavy winds, rain or adverse conditions.
Staying ahead of scammers is of utmost importance for property managers and by implementing some, if not all, of the above tips, you will be able to protect yourself and your prospects.
We hope that scammers don't target your area, but if they do we're ready... which means you are, too!
Use phone numbers for unique identification.
Pre-qualify each tenant lead and weed out anyone who doesn’t meet your minimum qualifications.
Verify that the phone number being texted is an actual cell phone tied to a cell phone carrier.
Issue one-time use codes when the lead is at the rental and that code is only good for the day you authorized them to be there and for a 2 hour window from initial use.
Use CC to verify the identity of the individual (we can also provide this information if required - the address, last 4 CC numbers and name if want to share with the local police)
We use Geo-Fencing to ensure the prospect is in the vicinity while scheduling and also at the property while accessing.
No software can prevent ALL attempts, so it is very important that we work together to identify and report suspected scam activity. Together we can reduce the impact of scammer attacks and eventually push them away from your rentals.