Tagged: rental scam Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 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.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on March 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , rental scam,   

    Man pays six months rent in advance to scammer 

    Man pays six months rent in advance to scammer

    One of the most common scams that we discuss is the rental scam. This is where someone looking to rent a property pays money to a scammer who posses online as the landlord. We discuss it so much because unfortunately, people are still falling victim to it. It’s so common it’s almost become a daily occurrence in the news. It happens all over the country as well and usually affects those who are the most desperate for a place to live. Too often the victims of the scam end up both impoverished and without a roof over their heads.

    Recently, this happened to a man in Colorado who paid the scammers six months’ rent in advance for a home he had found online. He researched the property and found the property owner’s name, however, the scammers knew that as well and were posing as the actual owner of the property. The man paid the scammers $10,000 as a bank transfer but once the money hit the scammers account the account was closed. The man contacted the bank in hopes of getting his money back but was unable to since the account was closed and the money was gone. He had even hired an attorney to try to get the money back incurring another expense.

    The mistake the man in question made was not meeting the landlord in person or inspecting the property. All the communication between the scammers and their victim was through email and text. This is one of the biggest red flags to look out for when looking for a new place to rent. If they give you some excuse about not being able to show the property it is more than likely a scam. 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.

    It’s always better to put in the extra time so you don’t end up losing money and a roof over your head.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    Real Estate Scams are still prevalent even offline 

    Real Estate Scams are still prevalent even offline

    With the real estate market the way it is, it’s no surprise that there are people looking to take advantage of the housing crisis. While online real estate scams have been a thing prior to the economic collapse of 2008, they have definitely picked up steam since then. While we will be discussing an online scam that is currently ongoing, some other scammers have taken the old school approach of conning their victims in person.

    Nashville, Tennessee is in the middle of an IT boom with many IT workers looking to relocate there. Because of this, scammers are running the ‘classic’ real estate scam online. The scammers are said to be copying legitimate real estate listings and posting them online as if they were renting the properties. This way they’ve been able to con victims into giving them down payments under the guise of holding the property for them. Unfortunately, it’s usually too late when victims find out they7’ve been taken with many left scrambling for a place to stay. The Tennessee State Government recommends checking with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission to make sure the real estate agent is who they say they are.

    In Alabama, a con artist that is said to be known to police is accused of scamming a woman out of $24,000 while claiming to be a house flipper. House flipping is the act of buying a house that’s usually in a state of disrepair for cheap then fixing it up and selling it for a profit. The victim thought she was investing in just such a house. The scammer even asked the victim for additional funds for additional repairs. However, the scammer never actually purchased the property and no renovations were ever completed. If you’re entering into a real estate venture with someone, it’s recommended that you do your due diligence and research your partner before handing over any money.

    Lastly for today, we go to Brooklyn, New York where a man was recently arrested for allegedly scamming people who were applying for housing through a government program. The scammer would promise prospective applicants that they would be moved to the top of the waiting list if they paid him $15,000. He reportedly then told his victims that an apartment would open up for them in six months to a year. In the meantime, the scammer would repeatedly ask his victims for more money to try to find other apartments for them. The scammer had no affiliation with the government nor the housing facility. When it comes to government-backed programs, the red tape can be excruciatingly long but unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.

    While the desperate need for shelter can often override our better judgment, it’s always worth it to take a step back and research the situation before handing money over to anyone.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: military draft, rental scam, , , whobbly wheel   

    Text message scam threatens victims with being drafted 

    Text message scam threatens victims with being drafted

    Leave it to scammers to use any opportunity to implement a new scam. With the recent tensions between the U.S. and Iran, scammers are using the fears of war to their advantage. The U.S. Army is warning the public about text messages that are being sent out threatening recipients with jail time if they don’t register for the “official Army draft.” It’s believed this scam is designed to garner personal information from the victim in order to commit identity theft. While Selective Service is still a thing, there hasn’t been a draft since 1973. Plus, if there was a draft the military would not use text messaging to find draftees.

    In other scam news, a car scam has claimed 50 victims in Houston. The scam is being called the ‘wobbly wheel’ scam. In it, a driver will honk at another driver telling them one of their wheels is loose. It just so happens that the person who noticed the bad wheel has the very part needed to fix the wheel. Once the wheel is ‘fixed’ they’ll ask for money or gift cards as reimbursement. These scammers have said to be targeting female drivers that have children with them. Four of six known suspects said to be committing the scam have been arrested. If you’re approached with this scam it is recommended that you notify police.

    Lastly, we have another story about being careful who you rent from. In Minnesota, a couple was scammed out of money and left without a home after responding to an ad for a rental property. The ‘landlord’ said that he couldn’t meet them or show them the property because he was out of state. However, the scammer was able to access the lockbox used to house the keys and gave the renters the code once they sent him money through a payment app. Not being able to show the property is always a red flag as is sending money through apps or wire transfers.

    Keep an eye out for these scams in case they come to your area.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ohio, , rental scam,   

    Rental scammer goes to great lengths to fleece victim 

    Rental scammer goes to great lengths to fleece victim

    When we talk about rental scams we usually give advice on how to spot one. In a typical rental scam situation, we warn our readers to never agree to rent any property sight unseen and never wire money or pay with gift cards. But what if it’s an atypical rental scam? Those may be harder to spot if a scammer is willing to go the extra mile to ripoff unsuspecting victims. That’s exactly what happened to one family in Ohio when she rented a property that she thought was perfect for her.

    The mother of five found an online listing for a home for rent in the Columbus area. She met with a man claiming to be the landlord face to face. He reportedly even had the keys to the home and showed her around. Legal documents were signed and money changed hands. Two days after the family moved in someone else came into the home and they had just rented the property from the legitimate landlord. While the fake landlord presented identification and contact information, the addresses were fake. The driver’s license the fake landlord presented to the victim listed an address where someone else lived. Here’s another example of an elaborate rental scam.

    People who find themselves in a situation like this are often in a desperate search to find housing quickly for whatever reason. This leaves them vulnerable to scammers since they’re looking for shelter fast. In order to avoid this type of scam, even with elaborate scams like this one, research is key. Take the time to thoroughly vet the property. try doing a reverse image search to make sure the property ad isn’t being copied from a legitimate realtor or landlord. Check with the county assessor’s office or website to find out who the true landlord is. That is public information that’s available to anyone.

    It’s better to put in the extra time so you don’t end up losing money and a roof over your head.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , rental scam, ,   

    Just how many people have fallen for the rental scam? 

    Just how many people have fallen for the rental scam?

    One of the scams we’ve talked about the most almost since day one is the rental scam. That’s for good reason as it’s one of the most prolific scams on the internet. If you’re unfamiliar with how it works, it takes advantage of those who are usually desperate to find a new home. The scammers will list a property online as being eligible to rent usually at well below market prices. They’ll ask for all sorts of payments such as deposits and first month’s rent but will almost always never be available in person nor will they let you inspect the property. Once the victim pays whatever money has been requested, not only will they be out that money but they could also be homeless as well. Usually, the property advertised is one that’s for sale by a legitimate realtor. The scammers copy the ads and change a few details to make it look like it’s a steal for rent.

    For us, this is old hat that we’ve known about for years. However, even we were a little shocked to learn the actual numbers behind the scam. According to the Better Business Bureau, five million people have been the victim of some form of rental scam. That’s more people that live in the city of Los Angeles. If we say that all of those people lost an average of $1,000 to rental scammers then they would have collectively lost $5 billion. The BBB also says that a number of properties that have been used in the scam have started posting signs outside that say the property is not actually for rent.

    As we previously mentioned, if a supposed landlord can’t meet you or wants you to rent the property sight unseen, it is more than likely a scam. Another red flag to look out for is a staple of the online scam and that’s the form of payment the scammer asks for. If someone claiming to rent a property asks you to make payment by wiring the money through Western Union or MoneyGram, it’s probably a scam. If they ask for payment in gift cards, we can almost guarantee that’s a scam. Both of these forms of payment allow scammers to run off with the victim’s money untraced.

    If you’re looking for a place to rent, research is your best defense. Always do a reverse image search to make sure the listing has not been copied. If they have a website you may also want to check with the county assessor to see who the actual landlord is. These two steps will go a long way in protecting you from scammers as no one wants to join the five million other victims.

     
    • Johnny Shepherd 4:27 pm on December 18, 2019 Permalink

      I was in desperate need of a place to stay in LA, found a room on “Roomster” app, met with the guy, spent afternoon w/ him, running around, getting lunch, looked at the place, was given a key to the house, signed a “lease”, slept there for 3 nights, and on the fourth day, I went to run some errands in the AM…and when I came back, everything that was in the house was now stacked outside (including my things), 3 laborers were inside tearing out the carpeting, and there was a sheriff’s deputy standing near the front door, not allowing access…My new “roommate/landlord”? Nowhere to be seen. The first and last month’s “rent”? Well, that was gone too. Good scam. Never thought it would happen to me. And I’m currently homeless because of it though I’m close to securing a new place from a friend.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rental scam,   

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam 

    Family with leukemia afflicted baby targeted in rental scam

    Further proving that scammers will stoop to any level, a family in Southern California is scrambling to find a new home after falling victim to an online rental scam. If you’ll recall, scammers will copy the online ads of homes for sale then post the ad in online marketplaces as a home for rent. The rent requested will often be well below market value. In most cases, the scammers will try to pressure you to make some kind of large payment without being able to see the property. In other cases, the scammers will also make you fill out a lengthy application they’ll use for identity theft.

    That’s what happened to the family from California. Their 14-month-old son has been diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. They are looking for a home closer to the hospital where the baby is being treated. In terms of Southern California travel, the hospital is too far away from their current residence. While looking for a new home, they found an online ad for the perfect place. They responded to the ad and filled out an application with all their personal information. It was after a friend looked into the property they found out that it wasn’t actually available for rent. Now, they’re busy trying to find a new home while worrying about not only their son but also having their personal information exposed like that.

    If you’re looking for a new home and you find one that’s too good to be true, it probably is. In order to avoid such scams always do a reverse image search on the photos in the ad to make sure the ad isn’t stolen from someplace else. You should also check with the county assessor’s website or office to verify who the true owner of the property is. And don’t be taken in by convoluted stories about why the property can’t be shown or why the supposed landlords can’t meet you. Lastly. never pay or wire money for any property sight unseen. If you would like to help the family mentioned in today’s story they have a GoFundMe page to help assist with the astronomical cost of childhood leukemia.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel