(BBB) – According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of more than 7 million affordable homes for the nation’s 11 million-plus extremely low-income families.
As the demand for affordable housing continues to rise, the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama is warning consumers about con artists in our area looking to capitalize.
Here’s the Scam:
A local consumer reported receiving a call and text message from someone claiming to be with the Huntsville Housing Authority. The caller offered to help the consumer fill out an application for renter’s assistance.
In this case, the consumer did not provide any information and immediately called to verify the suspicious call. The Huntsville Housing Authority confirmed that the caller was bogus and the agency doesn’t call, text, or email about renter’s assistance.
Tips to Avoid an Affordable Housing Scam:
- Contact your local housing authority. To register for a housing choice voucher program, you need to go through your local housing authority. You’ll find their email and phone number on the Housing and Urban Development website.
- Housing authorities do not charge fees. They also won’t reach out to you by phone or email to suggest that you join a waiting list.
- Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Scammers often pressure people into wiring money or putting cash on a prepaid debit card. Why? It’s like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it or get it back. Government agencies do not typically ask for money using these forms of payment, so consider that a “red flag.”
- Have you seen this kind of scam? File a report with BBB ScamTracker, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
NOTE: Although this scam focuses on affordable housing in the U.S., residents of Canada and other countries should be on the lookout for similar scams that take advantage of people looking for help through government housing programs.