Seattle, Washington — 05/09/2023 — Amidst a $350 million+ nationwide epidemic of rental scams, growing Proptech startup Showdigs announces the release of a groundbreaking security platform: Listing Shield™. The new tool, available to residential property managers nationwide, detects and removes fraudulent rental property listings from marketplace sites like Craigslist and Facebook. The scam monitoring is amplified by an additional layer of protection that uses AI to validate government IDs and then matches facial structure to the age of the lead requesting a tour — ensuring scammers can’t get access to rental properties in the first place.
“Showdigs recognizes the disproportionate impact that rental scams have on low-income renters, and the Listing Shield™ represents a significant advance in making the leasing process safer and more secure for everyone,” said Kobi Bensimon, founder and CEO of Showdigs. Rental scams have become more frequent post-COVID, with con artists devising increasingly sophisticated ways to steal money from desperate renters. In 2021, the FBI reported that consumers lost over $350 million due to these types of housing scams, a 64% increase from the previous year [FBI.gov]. As rent hikes, mass layoffs, and inflation price tenants out of their homes, fraudulent property listings have a particularly adverse effect on low-income households searching for affordable housing options.
Rental scams have become increasingly prevalent, with scammers exploiting the high demand for lower-cost rental properties in many areas. The scams typically involve the creation of fake rental listings using stolen photos and information from legitimate rental advertisements. 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 a tenant who unknowingly and illegally moved in. It is extremely important for renters to exercise caution when looking for properties online and to always verify the legitimacy of the listing and the landlord before sending any money.
"As a property manager, I’ve seen first hand how devastating rental scams can be for these vulnerable households. With this technology, we can level the playing field and help ensure that all renters have access to safe and affordable housing options,” said Kit MacPherson, owner of Maple Leaf Property Management in Seattle. Showdigs’ Listing Shield™ is a crucial improvement to the increasingly technical leasing process, where new tech like self-showings and digital syndication have provided opportunities for criminals to commit fraud. This software will be 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.
Showdigs is a Seattle-based Proptech startup that provides single-family property managers with a suite of tools to streamline the leasing process. Showdigs is the only property management software with an on-demand network of licensed real estate agents specially trained to handle fieldwork. As the sole pioneers of the Leasing Revolution, Showdigs continues to innovate cutting-edge self-showing, on-demand fieldwork, marketing automation, and lead-friendly scheduling technologies. For more information, visit https://www.showdigs.com.