Rental scams have become increasingly prevalent, with scammers exploiting the high demand for lower-cost rental properties in many areas. These scams typically involve the creation of fake rental listings using stolen photos and information from legitimate rental advertisements.
What does a rental scam look like?
Scammers often ask for a deposit or upfront payment before the tenant has even seen the property, and then disappear with the money. In some cases, scammers will even show the property to the tenant, collect a deposit and first month’s rent, allow the tenant to move in, then disappear once they get their money. Not only is this whole process devastating for the tenant, but the property management company then has to evict the tenant who has unknowingly and illegally moved in.
Rental scams have become so prevalent that the FBI has reported that consumers lost over $350 million due to these types of housing scams in 2021, a 64% increase from the previous year. With the pandemic exacerbating housing insecurity and more people turning to online marketplaces to find housing, the problem is only getting worse. Fortunately, one company is using technology to fight back against rental scams and make the leasing process safer and more secure for everyone.
Showdigs, a Proptech startup, has recently released a security platform — Listing Shield™ — which detects and removes fraudulent rental property listings from marketplace sites like Craigslist and Facebook. The platform uses a combination of human and AI-driven processes to identify and remove fraudulent listings before they can cause harm to renters and property managers.
Here's how Showdigs' Listing Shield™ works:
- Listing Detection: Listing Shield™ constantly monitors online marketplace sites for fraudulent rental listings. The platform uses a combination of algorithms and human reviewers to detect and remove fraudulent listings as quickly as possible. Showdigs' team of reviewers uses a combination of tools to check the authenticity of listings, including reverse image searches and IP tracking.
- ID Verification: In addition to detecting fraudulent listings, Listing Shield™ uses AI to validate government IDs and then matches facial structure to the age of the lead requesting a tour. This ensures that only legitimate leads gain access to the rental properties.
- Reporting: If a fraudulent listing is detected, Listing Shield™ generates a detailed report for the property manager, including information about the scammer and how to report the listing to the marketplace site. This allows property managers to take quick action to protect their properties and their renters.
- Integration: Listing Shield™ is integrated into Showdigs' suite of property management tools as a supplemental addition to both self-showings and on-demand agent-led tours. With this new feature, Showdigs aims to make renting safer and more secure for both property managers and tenants.
Benefits of Listing Shield™ listing security
The benefits of Listing Shield™ are clear. With this technology, property managers can rest easy knowing that their properties, clients, and tenants are safe. Renters can trust that the properties they are viewing are legitimate and that they’re not at risk of losing their money to scammers. With the added benefit of facial recognition technology, scammers are unable to even access the property in the first place.
Rental scams have a particularly adverse effect on low-income households searching for affordable housing options. Showdigs recognizes the disproportionate impact that rental scams have on these vulnerable populations, and the Listing Shield™ represents a significant advance in making the leasing process safer and more secure for everyone.
Say goodbye to rental scams with Showdigs' Listing Shield™
In conclusion, rental scams are a growing problem that is costing renters and property managers millions of dollars each year. With the release of Listing Shield™, we can level the playing field and help ensure that all renters have access to safe and affordable housing options.