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  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , kansas city, , ,   

    Face-to-face meeting still leads to rental scam 

    By Greg Collier

    Since the advent of online marketplaces, the rental scam has been a thorn in the side for tenants searching for new homes. For those who may not be aware, the rental scam is essentially when a scammer rents out a property they don’t own to an unwitting victim. The scammer takes the victim’s money while leaving the victim thinking they just rented a new home. Meanwhile, the scammer makes off with the victim’s money, while the victim could potentially be left without a home. These fake rental properties are often copied from legitimate real estate listings but listed at below-market rents to lure in victims. One of the warnings we typically give our readers is to be suspicious if a potential landlord gives excuses about meeting in person. But what can you do if a scammer agrees to meet you?

    That’s exactly what happened to a woman in Kansas City. She found a rental property listed on Facebook Marketplace that seemed perfect for her. She messaged the landlord about the property before talking to the landlord on the phone. The two finally met in person before the victim paid the landlord $1000 as a deposit and first month’s rent. However, the day before the victim was supposed to move into her new home, the landlord started giving excuses to the victim about meeting up to give the victim the keys. The victim went to the new home to wait for the landlord, but they never appeared. The victim had paid the landlord through the Venmo app, which basically meant the money was gone and couldn’t be recovered.

    Of course, when you first speak to a prospective landlord, you’re not going to know if they’re a scammer right off the bat. If they ask for payment in non-traditional means like a payment app or money transfer, that could be a good indicator that they’re trying to scam you. But before you even get to that stage, any potential renter should research the property first. Something as simple as a web search of the property’s address could reveal a scam in the making. If the address turns up for sale or has a higher rent, the odds are that the listing you found is part of a scam.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kansas city, , , ,   

    Reshipping scam tries to pose as legitimate business 

    Reshipping scam tries to pose as legitimate business

    By Greg Collier

    The reshipping or repackaging scam is one of the more dangerous scams for consumers. Usually, scammers will advertise this scam as a work from home position where your job is to inspect packages you receive from a shipping company You’re then instructed to inspect the items for damage before sending the items to a third party. The third party is usually someone overseas. These positions are often advertised online with such titles as ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator, or ‘local hub inspector’. In reality, its just a way to traffic stolen goods and now some reshipping scammers are trying to appear as a legitimate service.

    One man from the Kansas City Metro Area found this out recently when he applied for one of these positions as a second income. He was told that he’d be paid $2800 a month for inspecting the packages and shipping them off. The man didn’t find out he was scammed until he received a call from police stating that a stolen phone had been ordered in his name.

    The scammers explained the fake position to the man as if they were a legitimate shipping service. They said that some vendors don’t accept overseas credit cards and that they were acting as middle men essentially. There are real and legitimate services like this. For instance, say you want to buy a collectible from a Japanese website, but they don’t ship to the US. These reshipping services will act as your Japanese address and will send the item to the US for a fee. What these platforms don’t do is advertise for work at home jobs, as the scammers would have you believe.

    The real danger of the reshipping scam is that it could potentially land you in jail, even if you’re an unknowing participant. If you knowingly falsify shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, you could potentially face a prison sentence.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 28, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kansas city, , ,   

    Phony movers could hold your property hostage 

    Phony movers could hold your property hostage

    By Greg Collier

    Recently, in the Kansas City area, many people have come forward claiming that they’ve been ripped off by a moving company that they found online. The company is not only accused of allegedly damaging a lot of customer’s possessions, but they’re also accused of holding on to a lot of the items while asking the customers for more money. One man claimed that the company is holding on to half of his belongings while the other half were mostly damaged. The man claims it’s been six months since his move to Kansas City and still hasn’t gotten the rest of his possessions.

    The problem with some online moving companies is that anybody can put up a website and claim to be a moving company. A quick web search of the moving company mentioned in the Kansas City news story brought us to a Better Business Bureau page which stated that the company had not obtained required licenses for the city and state they’re supposedly headquartered in.

    Scam movers may not even have warehouses or trucks. Some of these companies may not even have employees as some just hire day laborers to load their trucks.

    There are many ways to tell if you’re dealing with a shady moving company. If they give you an estimate over the phone without coming to your home to inventory your belongings, they’re probably not on the up and up. If you call their office, and they answer with a generic sounding name like ‘moving company’ the odds are they’re a fly-by-night operation. Lastly, if their moving vans are just rental trucks they’re obviously not legitimate.

    That’s not to say that all moving companies are bad. You should just do some research before business with them. Even if the movers were referred to you by a realtor or broker you should still do your research.

  • Geebo 11:02 am on October 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , kansas city, ,   

    Real Estate agent saves renters from scam 

    Real Estate agent saves renters from scam

    Online con artists are always changing and adapting. That’s part of why the term ‘con man’ is actually short for ‘confidence man’. When the general public starts catching on to one scheme, con artists will tweak the scam ever so slightly that it almost becomes a brand new scam. For example, in the past scammers would list a property for rent in craigslist that isn’t there’s and would use various excuses as to why you had to wire them the deposit money before even seeing the property. Some of the more popular ones were that the ‘landlords’ were leaving the country either because they were church missionaries or they were in the military having just been deployed.

    It’s rare when I hear about a new rental scam but today seems to be that day. In the Kansas City area, a Real Estate agent saved a family from losing out on their money after one of the realtor’s property was listed on craigslist. The renters were about to send money to someone in Texas who was claiming to be the landlord of the property. The phony landlord claimed they were having problems with the realtor and decided to rent the house out themselves. Luckily, the renters called the realtor before sending any money. The realtor informed the renters that the scammers had copied the realtor’s ad and reposted it on craigslist, which is usually the heart of the scam.

    Rental scams are one of the most prolific scams on classified sites that don’t monitor their ads. Usually, the scammers try to rope you in with a too good to be true price and some kind of story designed to lower your defenses. If you’re ever unsure about who is truly renting a property you can always check with the county assessor’s website or office. Taking that little extra step could mean the difference between finding a new home or losing that down payment you needed for a new place.

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