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Signs That An Online Housing Listing May Be A Scam

Signs That An Online Housing Listing May Be A Scam

Typically, every home search, whether for renting or buying, begins online. The Internet can provide a wealth of information for homeowners, but it can also be a place for scammers to target those searching for a home.

There are three common types of online scams. First, many scammers duplicate listings of homes that are available to rent or purchase but drastically reduce the price. Another type of scam is listing a home that doesn’t exist, leaving out images and addresses. Finally, some scammers even rent out homes they don’t own. These are homes where the real homeowner may not check on the property often.

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It is important to know the signs of an online housing scam before you begin your preliminary research and start to visit properties. This way, you can avoid a dangerous and fraudulent situation before it’s too late.

How to spot a scam

Be on the lookout for the following signs. Any of them could be indicative of a scam and should require further investigation:

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Listings without Images.

Every prospective homeowner wants to be able to view images of a home to determine if it is worth seeing in person. Look for listings that have images of the property included.

Listings without images should be a red flag. Search the property address to see if you can find images of the home elsewhere. This will also help you find out if the property actually exists and determine if the listing is possibly a duplicate.

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Even if the listing includes images, conducting research on other websites outside of where the property is listed can help you verify that the images match up with the area. For example, does the listing include photos of a home with climate conditions that don’t match the area you’re searching?

Listings that are priced too low.

Compare the listing price to other properties in the area. Are they similar? If the property you’re looking at is priced lower than surrounding homes, it may be a sign that the price is too good to be true. Consider the amenities of the property for the listing price. Again, if the price seems too low, the listing could be a scam.

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Listings that ask for money or private information before showing the property.

Is the property manager not willing to show the property or provide more information until he or she receives money or important financial information from you? If so, this could be indicative of a scam. Never pay in advance before seeing a home. You shouldn’t be required to give a credit check or provide payment until you’re absolutely sure that you’re ready to buy.

In addition, never fill out a rental application until you’ve seen the property. You don’t want to release personal information until you’ve visited the property and spoken with the person who has a legal right to rent or list the property.

How to protect yourself

Now that you know the signs of a potential scam, what else can you do to protect yourself?

  • Never wire money.
  • Research and compare prices.
  • Never leave a purchase untraceable. Scammers may ask you to pay in cash.
  • Research the contact information of the listing owner. Is this person in good standing, or has someone already filed a complaint?
  • Check for duplicate property listings.
  • If at any time during your property search you feel unsure, listen to your gut. If the listing seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Verify the owner or landlord. Make sure the individual who is showing you the property is the right person.

How to report a scam

Flag the listing so other potential tenants or homeowners are aware. Contact your local authorities as well. You can also file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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