Thieves and con artists are always looking for new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. As processes get automated, defrauding apartment complexes becomes less about tricking the staff and more about gaming the system. A client recently alerted THS of one such new scam in the industry. The fraudster submits an application online, making a larger than required online deposit payment. The application is declined and the applicant calls the property for a refund. The property expedites the refund and later learns that the online deposit payment bounced. To protect yourself, it is best to implement a policy to only send refunds once the funds have cleared the bank.
Another scam that has been around for years and still snares unsuspecting on-site staff is “phishing” faxes for advertising services. These companies will fax a form to an apartment community requesting confirmation of the property’s address, phone number, website, and email address. A short time later, someone from the company will call the property to ask if the fax was received and lead the person on the phone to believe the form is a renewal for an existing advertising arrangement for the property. The staff person signs the form thinking he/she is only confirming the advertising information, but in the fine print, he is actually binding the property to a subpar advertising contract. When the property realizes the mistake and tries to cancel, the company is relentless and will not cease collection efforts until it receives a sum of money as settlement.
We recommend you develop procedures to avoid being scammed. Train your on-site teams of your procedures, and stay alert. If you are uncertain if a situation is a scam, please remember to take advantage of our value-added services and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.