Police Say Fake Tenant a Wake Up Call to Landlords

by Chris on October 3, 2011

A man who described himself as a career criminal who “kills and robs” landlords has been arrested after a six week long crime spree through Nevada.
 
One terrified victim was afraid to be identified after the man told her he knew where she lived and would kill her family if she called police.
 
In at least one instance, the man used a 10-12 year old accomplice who robbed a leasing agent while the man held her at knife point, according to a news report.
 
The man also preyed on real estate agents showing homes.
 
Local police describe the case as a “wake up call” to those who show private homes to be on guard for their personal safety.
 
The suspect was located using the signal from a stolen cellphone.
 
While there is no single way to guarantee your personal safety when showing rental properties, developing a safety-conscious routine may deter some criminals who would otherwise choose to target landlords:
 
Prequalify tenants on the phone before you agree to meet with them.  Sometimes the hassle alone is enough to deter someone looking for an easier mark.
 
Always prescreen applicants face-to-face before the tour in a neutral location.  That way, if there are warning signs, there is time to learn more.
 
Record a photo ID and take down information on the applicant’s car. Let the applicant see you send the information to someone else, like your receptionist or work associate, or to your computer.  The criminal will realize they may get caught.
 
Make sure someone knows your schedule.
 
If possible, go on the tour with other people, or maintain cell phone contact with someone while you are there.  Work out an easy ‘code word’ you can use if you get into trouble.
 
This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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