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I’m filling out rental applications with lots of personal information, and I’m more than a little concerned that I’m getting scammed. Is there anything I can do to protect myself?


Disclosing personal information is a cost of doing business in the 21st century. As you probably know from continual press reports, even when we’re not deliberately disclosing it, information about us is being gathered by government authorities and companies that we do business with. If it’s clear that you’re dealing with legitimate landlords or real estate agencies – have you visited their offices, have you walked through the properties listed for rent? – then you should feel comfortable giving out some personal details. Look at it from their point of view: They need to verify who you are, where you live, whether you’re employed and, by running a credit check, whether you pay your bills on time. They need to be sure that you’re not someone who will take possession of a house or apartment and camp out without paying rent until they can evict you.

-Conrad de Aenlle