Housing scams target seasonal workers
October 15, 2013
With winter quickly approaching, ski season workers are trickling into the Park City area. All those workers need places to live, and they’ll be turning to a variety of options. Caution is warranted, however, because scammers in the rental market commonly target out-of-towners and foreigners.
The downturn in the U.S. economy and the accompanying subprime mortgage crisis created fertile conditions for housing scams. Dwellings across the country were foreclosed upon by banks and remain empty.
Some of Park City’s large employers of seasonal workers offer housing assistance to their employees. At Deer Valley Resort, for example, all first-time seasonal workers are eligible to live in housing units owned by Deer Valley in Park City and at River’s Edge, between the Jordanelle Reservoir and Heber, according to communications manager Emily Summers. Summers said that Deer Valley also encourages employees to post housing opportunities and needs on its human resources bulletin boards and on its internal website.
For those workers who do not have the benefit of employer-guided housing assistance like Deer Valley’s, the task of finding housing on one’s own can be intimidating and risky. Renters need to be alert, diligent and thorough. Here are some tips for avoiding the scammers looking to prey on the unsuspecting:
Some scammers will be more effective than others, and it’s not always easy to tell that something suspicious is afoot. If you stay alert and cautious, however, apartment hunting can be a lot safer.
Sources for this article include Federal Trade Commission guidance; MSN Real Estates’s "Renters: Beware of new twists on an old scam"; and Hotpads blog’s "10 Tips to Avoid Scam Rental Listings".
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