Hawaii was just listed as one of the top 5 states for rental scams. With very little rental inventory out there, scammers have been preying on those looking find a good deal. Kay Mukaigawa of Engel & Volkers joined us today with tips on avoiding falling victim to these scams.

“Renters hear of an awesome property and are told they need to fill out an application. Once accepted, the scammers ask the renter to wire them a security deposit and they will meet them at the property to do a walk through and give them the keys.  Sadly, they wire the money and never hear from the scammers again.”

Unfortunately, Kay personally knows a young couple who fell victim to one of these scams. They were looking to rent a home for a weekend to host a wedding. “They contacted someone who they thought was the owner.  They were told many applications were sent in but because it was going to be used for something so special, they would select them but they needed to wire a security deposit by the end of the day to hold the property.  Unfortunately, they never heard from the scammers again.”

Kay shared these tips to follow:

1)  Consider the source.  Don’t be fooled by fake websites and don’t rent property on social media sites

2)  Check with an official real estate site.  This data is vetted by a property manager who is a realtor.

3)  Verify the agent’s name by calling before you send money to anyone

4)  Ensure there is an on-island representative who will let you physically see the property

5)  Trust your instincts – If the rental price is too good to be true, then it probably is.

Those looking for more information about this and other real estate topics, can visit evrealestate.com