Pennsylvania AG Warns of ‘Sophisticated’ Rental Scams

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Attorney General Michelle Henry is warning Pennsylvanians in the market for rental properties to be aware of sophisticated scammers placing fake ads and altering existing, legitimate ads to obtain personal information, security deposits and rent payments.

Scammers take ads from rental companies or real estate listings and alter them by changing the contact information, or hacking the actual Realtor’s email account, a news release from the Office of Attorney General states. Some scammers place ads for properties not on the market.

Scammers can then obtain personal information during the “application process,” and they may even illegally collect payments.

“We are approaching summertime, and that means college students heading to school in the fall will need to make living arrangements, so beware of these fraudulent listings that appear to be the real thing,” Henry said. “If a landlord refuses to meet in person and show the property, that is usually a strong indicator of a scam.”

The Office of Attorney General offers these tips:

  • Be wary if you cannot physically see the property.
  • Confirm with whom you are dealing.
  • Do not wire payments for application, security deposit or first month’s rent.
  • Do not purchase gift cards for payment.
  • Do not provide your Social Security number without verifying with whom you are dealing.

Anyone who believes they have been victimized by this scam can submit a complaint HERE, email or call 800 441 2555.

Pictured at top: Photo by Ivan Samkov. (

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.