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  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 15, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person 

    Couple scammed by phony landlord in person

    We often discuss a lot of different scams. Sometimes we even discuss the same scam on a number of different occasions. While the advice we give about avoiding scams are often good rules to follow in general, sometimes they don’t apply to every situation. For example, when it comes to renting a property, we always say don’t rent a property where the supposed landlord either won’t meet you or refuses to show the property. While that is a good general rule to follow, what do you do when a scammer does show up to show you the property?

    This happened to a couple from Ohio recently. They found a rental property on Craigslist that appeared to be a bargain. They called the number on the Craigslist listing and the man on the other side of the call said he would meet them at the property. Instead, a woman showed up who claimed to be the landlord’s wife. The wife did not have the key to the property but was able to access a lockbox at the property that did contain the key.

    The couple signed an official-looking lease and gave the woman a $475 money order as a deposit. The couple started moving in their belongings and even had internet installed at the property.

    It was a few days later when the actual landlord showed up to tell the couple that they had been duped. The scammers had copied a legitimate rental ad and posted it to Craigslist while changing the rental amount and the phone number. It’s believed that the scammers even posed as potential renters to get the code to the lockbox. The current landlord is willing to work with the couple but not everyone who’s taken in a rental scam like this is that lucky. Too often victims of these scams find themselves out on the street.

    However, there are steps you can take to avoid falling for a scam like this. The first is that you may want to avoid using Craigslist barbecue it has become a haven for scammers of all sorts. If the listing has pictures, do a reverse image search to see if the pictures are being used on a realtor’s website. If the pictures appear on a realtor’s website and Craigslist simultaneously, it’s almost a guarantee that the Craigslist ad is a fake. Lastly, always check with the county assessor’s website or office to find who truly owns the property.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Almeda Fire, , rental scam,   

    Rental scammers take advantage of fire victims 

    Rental scammers take advantage of fire victims

    The recent Almeda Fire in Southern Oregon is said to have destroyed over 2,300 homes. It’s being called one of the most destructive American fires in the past 50 years. This has left many of the fire’s victims scrambling to find temporary or permanent housing. Of course, where there are people who have a desperate need there will be those looking to take advantage of them.

    According to local real estate brokers, rental scams have been flooding the area. They say that they’ve always been a problem but with the recent fire, the scam has been increasing immensely in the area. This is also one of the oldest online scams. Scammers will take a legitimate listing from a realtor’s website, copy it, then place an ad on Craigslist claiming they’re renting the property. The scammers will advertise the property at below market value before trying to squeeze a phony deposit or rent payment out of their victims. With so many people looking for shelter, the local Craigslist listings are said to be flooded with scammers and unfortunately, desperate people looking for a roof over their heads have fallen victim to the scam.

    We know that it’s easier said than done when facing a crisis like this, however, even in drastic situations like this, you should take the time to do your research. We always recommend checking with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. Along with that we also recommend doing a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. Also, be wary if the landlord tries to collect payment through apps like Venmo or Cash App. If a landlord says they can’t show you the property even for COVID-19 reasons it’s probably a scam.

    No one who has endured a disaster like this should have to endure the petty greed of scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: rental scam, , Steamboat Springs,   

    Scammers tell renters to break the window if no one’s home 

    Scammers tell renters to break the window if no one's home

    Steamboat Springs in Colorado is a popular ski resort town. Any popular tourist hotspot will have its fair share of rental scammers and Steamboat Springs is no exception. An attorney was looking for a long term rental in Steamboat Springs and says that she encountered at least four scammers were trying to rent her a property that they didn’t actually own. One scammer is even said to have told the attorney that she could go look at the home herself and if the door was locked she could just break a window. That may just be the biggest red flag for a rental scam we’ve ever heard of.

    After that encounter, the attorney started doing research on the property she was hoping to rent and found out that the home was actually for sale and not for rent. Scammers had copied the ad from the legitimate realtor’s website and pasted the ad on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Zillow. If the attorney had not done her due diligence she may have found herself out of thousands of dollars paid to phony landlords for phony deposits.

    The attorney also gave some good advice on how to help sniff out a rental scammer. She recommends asking questions that only locals may know like what school did they send their kids too or things like that. Often these rental scammers will be based overseas and know very little about the local area.

    Please remember that if a prospective landlord tells you that you can’t see the property or need to break the window to see it, you’re probably talking to a scammer. We always recommend doing a reverse image search to see how many ads the pictures of the home appear in. If most of the ads say that the home is for rent but one says it’s for sale then the rental ads are more than likely scams. Lastly, you can always check with the county assessor’s office or website to see who the actual owner of the property is before handing over any money.

    While this kind of research can be time-consuming it’s worth it to put in the effort in order to avoid being scammed.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on August 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads 

    One website is slow to remove rental scam ads

    In the Cleveland, Ohio area, owners of vacation homes have seen a recent increase in scams targeting their rental properties. This is hardly a new scam as it’s origins can be traced back to the early days of the commercial internet. This scam can also affect any property, not just vacation rentals.

    Several vacation rental owners have reported coming into contact with people who had been scammed into paying phony deposits to scammers posing as the landlords. Scammers had copied the ads from legitimate vacation rental websites and pasted the ad onto an unmoderated classifieds site almost word for word. The only thing the scammers changed was the contact information. Of course, the website in question is Craigslist.

    One of the vacation rental owners tried to get the ads taken down by Craigslist but they allegedly never received any feedback from Craigslist. It wasn’t until a local news channel got involved that the ads were finally pulled. When the station asked Craigslist why it took so long to remove the ads, they received no response.

    Craigslist still relies on what they call ‘community policing’. This means that they might pull an ad if enough users flag the ad. While some scam ads are obvious just by looking at them, that’s not the case with rental ads. In most cases, no one will know that a rental ad is a scam until victims start losing money to the scammers.

    There are many different ways you can protect yourself from falling prey to these scammers. One is using Geebo.com where our listings are reviewed for potential scams. You should also be wary of any landlord who can’t tell you anything about the property but is anxious to collect a deposit. If a landlord says they can’t show you the property even for COVID-19 reasons it’s probably a scam. If they ask for payment in untraceable ways like gift cards or wallet apps like Venmo and Cash App it’s more than likely a scam. You can also do a reverse image search to see if the pictures in the ad are being used somewhere else. You can even copy a snippet of the text and use that as a web search to help detect duplicate ads. Lastly, if you see duplicate ads on a rental website and Craigslist, it’s almost a sure bet that the ad on Craigslist is the fake.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , rental scam, ,   

    $600 Federal unemployment benefit has expired 

    $600 Federal unemployment benefit has expired

    If you’re currently collecting unemployment benefits, you might discover that your next payment could be smaller than it has been. As of this past Friday, July 31, 2020, the Federal unemployment benefit of $600 per week has expired. The Senate had been working on extending these benefits but decided to allow the benefits to expire before approving any extension. This will leave approximately 30 million Americans who are currently collecting unemployment benefits to struggle even more to try to make ends meet. As of the time of this posting, there is no definitive time table as to when the benefits could be extended.

    Unfortunately, we can’t offer any advice on to make up for that $600 loss outside of maybe putting some of your clutter up for sale on Geebo.com. You never know who may want to pay you for that thing you’ve been looking to get out of your home. Ad listings are free. However, we can offer advice on how to keep the money you already have.

    This is going to be a perfect time for scammers to strike. With so many people desperate to find work or a place to live, it’s almost a guarantee that scammers will be looking for new victims.

    When it comes to job scams, be leery of any offer that sounds too good to be true. Avoid depositing any checks that phony employers will say is for supplies or equipment. Avoid any positions for secret shoppers or repackaging positions that are disguised with titles like ‘shipping coordinator’ or ‘warehouse redistribution coordinator’.

    Where housing is concerned, once again, it’s best to avoid any listing that sounds too good to be true. If the rent is significantly lower than the average market price, it’s probably best to avoid that listing. If a landlord refuses to show you the property for any reason including social distancing, it’s more than likely a scam. If the supposed landlord asks for payment in something unusual like gift cards, wire service, or cryptocurrency that will probably be a scam listing.

    I’m sure all of us are either affected by the current economic situation or know someone who is. If you’re in a position to, maybe reach out and offer to help someone you know. It doesn’t have to be financial assistance necessarily. Sometimes just the offer of a helping hand can be enough.

     
    • We need to stop playing politics 2:10 pm on August 3, 2020 Permalink

      I am out of work due to corona I work for the school district don’t know if I am going back next month or if I will be on the unemployment line my wages will stop and I will probably have to go on unemployment my wages are low so if I do go on unemployment I will be making less than I brought home from my job which was 30 hours a week my bring home pay for two weeks is $495 no one gave me any help and if I go on employment sure if I’m gonna get up then either just saying $600 extra week is more than I bring home Although people making much more than that for six months got $600 extra a week what about the people that are just now applying for unemployment shouldn’t they be entitled to an extra $600 for the first six months of unemployment we’re talking about being fair to all Americans I would love to have an answerWe need to stop playing politics and start taking care of the people that are putting you in your not making matters any easier for people that in homes I may lose their jobs after the $600 a month is over how fair is that

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rental scam, Rhode Island,   

    Rental scam goes on for over a year 

    Rental scam goes on for over a year

    One of the oldest scams since the early days of the internet is the rental scam. Whether you’re looking to rent a house or an apartment, scammers are out there looking to take your money.

    Usually, in a rental scam, the scammer will copy an ad from a legitimate real estate agent and post it online claiming to be the landlord. The scammers will do this to get you to pay some kind of deposit or rent before disappearing with your payment. This has cost some victims thousands of dollars. Some have even moved into the property only to find out that they aren’t living there legally. More often than not, the victim will find out within a month. However, in this particular scam, the victim was living in a home for over a year.

    A man in Rhode Island found a place to rent on craigslist in his area. He lived there for a year and a half while paying rent to he thought was the owner of the property. Recently, the man received a text message from the man he had been paying rent to that said “Just want to give you a heads up I no longer manage the property, you’re on your own. I wish you luck.”

    It turns out that the home was actually in a state of foreclosure. The man who originally owned it filed for bankruptcy but was contesting the foreclosure. The case had been tied up in court for the past year and a half while the scammer collected rent. Meanwhile, the man who is now living there doesn’t know where he will go to live.

    Before renting a property you should take the time to research the property first. Do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. You should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it if it means facing an uncertainty like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 18, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam, ,   

    Rental scammer posed as military member 

    Rental scammer posed as military member

    Rental scammers are always looking for new excuses to give their victims as to why they can’t meet them face to face. Most recently, rental scammers used the excuse of social distancing to explain their reluctance to meet. In the past, a popular excuse with scammers was that they claimed to be working overseas on a religious mission. All the excuses are used to achieve the same effect. They do this to try to avoid suspicion in the fact that they don’t have the authority to rent the property they claim to own and to get you to make a payment sight unseen. One of the classic excuses seems to be making a comeback and that’s the scammers posing as members of the military.

    San Diego, California is a huge military town, especially for naval forces. The city has seven military bases mostly for the Navy and Marines with a single Coast Guard base. Scammers will try to use the city’s relationship with the military to their advantage. Unfortunately, it worked against one family in San Diego who were looking for a new place to live. They had found a listing on craigslist that appeared to be a really good deal. The person who claimed to own the property also claimed that they were stationed overseas with the Navy. The family wired $1600 to the scammer before they found out the listing was a fake. The scammers had even used the picture of a real serviceman who passed away a few years ago. This scam isn’t limited to just military towns as it has been used all over the country.

    If a prospective landlord ever says that they can’t meet you in person for whatever reason, it’s almost assuredly a scam. Also, if the landlord requests payment through unconventional means like wire transfer or gift cards, it is also almost assuredly a scam. If they claim to be currently overseas for whatever reason, they are almost assuredly a scammer.

    While you may be in a rush to find a new home it’s always worth taking the time to research the property. You should always do a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Lastly, you should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    More details about COVID rental scam 

    More details about COVID rental scam

    It seems the rental scammers have gone all-in during the current pandemic. Prior to the current social distancing guidelines, rental scammers would make up any excuse they could to avoid meeting their victims face to face.

    In a typical rental scam, the scammer will copy a legitimate real estate ad. Usually, the property from the real estate ad is for sale. The scammer will then change the ad to appear the property is for rent before posting the phony ad on someplace like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The fake rental rate will almost always be well below the current market value. When someone applies to the fake ad, the scammer will try to pressure the victim into sending either a deposit or first month’s rent without allowing the victim to inspect the property. The scammers would give excuses like they were out of town on business and couldn’t show the property. In many cases, scammers used to say they were overseas doing mission work for their church. The range of excuses the scammers would give would range from the ridiculous to the sublime. Now, with COVID-19 still looming as a potential health threat, the scammers have a built-in excuse not to meet with their victims.

    To make matters worse, scammers are now using a new trick when questioned if an is fake. In the San Francisco Bay Area, one man questioned whether or not a rental listing on Craigslist was a scam since the property was below local market value. The scammer responded by saying that the federal government has asked property owners to lower rents during the current crisis. Of course, the federal government has done no such thing. The confusion is understandable as both local and federal governments have made many conflicting statements about the pandemic.

    Usually, the scammer will ask for payment through some untraceable means like wire transfer, gift card, Cash App, or cryptocurrency. If a landlord asks for payment in any of these ways, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam.

     
  • Geebo 7:31 am on April 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rental scam, ,   

    Virtual rental scam keeps claiming victims 

    Virtual rental scam keeps claiming victims

    Last week, we posted an entry about victims who were taken in by a new type of rental scam. In this scam, phony landlords are saying they can’t meet with prospective renters because of the quarantine. The scammers would then send their victims a link so they could take a virtual tour of the home. As with all rental scams, the scammers would collect rent or deposits for properties they don’t own. Many of the victims move into the property thinking they’re now renting the property only to find out that they’ve been had. Now it seems that this virtual rental scam is becoming more commonplace.

    More recently in Texas, a woman and her son had moved into a new home before finding out from the property manager that she was there illegally. She had found the listing for the home on craigslist. When she had inquired about the home, the scammer sent her a link to a website called Rently so she could see the home virtually. Rently is a legitimate website but anyone can go on it and view rental properties. The scammer then collected the first month’s rent of $1500 through a payment app. After the woman realized she had been scammed she was able to get her money back from her bank’s app but it most cases, that money is lost forever.

    One of the red flags, in this case, was that the photos of the property were watermarked by the rental company. The scammer said that the rental company wasn’t moving the property fast enough so they listed the property on craigslist. Scammers often copy legitimate listings from rental companies or real estate agencies to pass off as their own. Another red flag was the scammer asking for payment through a payment app. You should never use Cash App or Venmo for payments to someone you don’t know as these apps are favored by scammers due to their anonymity.

    Even in the time of social distancing, you should still always ask for a face to face meeting. You can still practice safe social distancing during one of these meetings. Always do a reverse image search of the property to make sure the listing hasn’t been copied. Lastly, you should also check with the county’s tax assessor’s office or website to find out who the true property owner is. This research may take some time but in the end, it’s worth it to avoid finding yourself in a situation like this.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    Covid-19 used as part of rental scam 

    Covid-19 used as part of rental scam

    Scammers keep using the current covid-19 pandemic to their advantage in new and creative ways by applying it to scams that have been in practice for years. One of the most common scams that we’ve discussed is the rental scam. This is where a scammer posts an ad online for a rental property they claim to own. The rent is almost always advertised as below market value. Also, the rent is almost always asked for without being to see the dwelling itself or meeting the landlord. In previous instances of the scam, scammers would give various reasons as to why they couldn’t meet the prospective tenants or show the property. Now, it seems that covid-19 precaution is being used as an excuse.

    In Thornton, Colorado three different families fell for the same rental scam thinking they all had just rented a home for their families. Instead, they were taken by a con artist. The scammer had posted the home for rent on Facebook Marketplace. When potential renters would inquire about the home the scammer allegedly told them that due to covid-19 concerns he would give a virtual tour of the home. One victim of the scam paid $2500 to the scammer as a deposit. While the news report doesn’t say how payment was made, it’s safe to assume it may have been done through a wire service like Western Union or Moneygram. As you can expect, the scammer did not own the house and the property was actually being rented by a real estate agency and already promised to a tenant. This isn’t the only case of a covid-19 rental scam.

    Even in this time of social distancing, if you’re looking to rent a home never pay a prospective landlord without meeting them in person. However, before meeting them, make sure they’re the actual landlord by doing a web search on the address of the rental home. This kind of web search should turn up who is actually renting the property. For a more accurate report of who owns the property, you can check with the county’s assessor’s office or website. It’s better to put in the extra research time so you don’t end up losing money and a roof over your head.

     
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