Rental Site Phishing Scam

Originally posted on November 30, 2020 2:59 pm
Updated on December 02, 2020 5:05 pm

New Phishing Scam Targeting Renters On Facebook

It has recently come to our attention that there is a new phishing scam occurring in the real estate industry where scammers have been setting up rental sites with similar sounding domain names and misusing logos in an attempt to build their own brand legitimacy so that they can scam renters.
Any site that is not utilizing the site domain www.renthop.com is not affiliated with our site, RentHop, in any capacity. Emails from our staff and support team will always end with @renthop.com, @renthop-mail.com, or @renthop-msg.com. If you are concerned that you are being phished or have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our support team at support@renthop.com.
These scammers have been known to reach out to renters via Facebook – most notably through housing or real estate interest groups. Once the renter announces their need for housing via a post or comment, an “agent” will reach out to the renter to offer them their services. After some back and forth, the “agent” will eventually ask the renter to email their customer support team – typically at a non-firm affiliated email domain such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. Note: Most reputable apartment listing sites or brokerage firms will have their own firm affiliated email domains so if you encounter a situation like this, it is important to look more into the firm to see if they are legitimate or not.
Typically, once the renter emails them to secure a viewing of the apartment, the scammers will provide a fake lease agreement. Commonly – these lease agreements have stolen logos/branding information to confuse the renter into thinking that the firm is legitimate. Please note that RentHop is an apartment listing site where users advertise their available rental listingswe do not own/manage the properties listed on our site and do not therefore partake in property management or leasing actions. We do not supply lease agreements with our trademarked logos or name.
Once the fake lease agreement is received, the scammers may then proceed to ask for an application fee OR security deposit + one month’s rent to “secure” the listing for a viewing. Excuses such as “you need to secure the listing or it’ll be taken off the market” are commonly used to incentivize renters to make a quick decision to submit payment. However, once money is deposited via direct deposit, Venmo, or Zelle, the scammers will disappear and cease to respond. See samples of Facebook messages and the fake lease agreements below.
It is extremely important that renters should never submit a deposit or application fee prior to viewing the apartment in person.
If you have been subject to a phishing scam, please help us in removing their site by taking the following actions:

Please also check out our guide on rentals scams and how to avoid them.
Sample screenshots of message and lease agreements:
Screenshot 1:
These messages show how the scammers steers the conversation in their favor. The renter in the messages was concerned about signing a lease and providing a deposit prior to viewing the apartment but the scammer quickly assured that there would be no issues and forced the renter to sign the lease agreement, pay an application fee, and secure the deposit.
Screenshot 2:
RentHop and this company mentioned in the messages is not affiliated. This scammer is lying to the renter in order to establish brand legitimacy so he can carry out the scam.
Screenshot 3:
#1: RentHop is not affiliated with the company that provided the lease agreement. The logo included is also an older version of our current logo. Also notice the strange overlap with another image.
#2: There are many spelling errors across this fake lease agreement supplied by the scammers.
#3: There are random html characters on the lease agreement – a sign of copy and paste errors.
#4: As mentioned, RentHop is an apartment listing site where users come to advertise available listings to renters. We are not in the business of leasing or building management on behalf of owners.
#5: Do not ever send money to someone via wire, Venmo, Zelle, or other methods such as providing payment in the form of a gift card prior to viewing an apartment. You should also be wary if someone is asking you to send money to a private account such as the one seen in the screenshot. No reputable firm will make such requests.
Screenshot 4:
You can help us report Facebook profiles that are trying to scam renters by pressing the “Find support or report profile” button.



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