Thursday, December 17, 2015

Scammers Target Vacant Realtor-Listed Homes For Possession-Hijacking Rent Ripoffs; One Central Florida Agent Says About 1/3 Of Of Local Listings On Craigslist Are Fraudulent w/ Landlord Impostors Operating Email Accounts Using Actual Realtor Names To Reel In Victims

In Kissimmee, Florida, WFTV-TV Channel 9 reports:
  • [I]n the last month, realtor Holly Wolfer said she’s spotted nearly a dozen instances of scammers operating email accounts using actual realtors' names to lure unsuspecting victims.

    In one recent case, a would-be renter found a Craigslist advertisement featuring a home on North Thatcher Avenue in Kissimmee. Before paying a $500 deposit, the person contacted Wolfer, who confirmed the listing was illegitimate. The home was vacant and listed for sale, but a sign posted on the lawn stated the property wasn’t available to be rented.

    “It's easy cash for somebody, especially during the holidays,” Wolfer said. “The focus is really switching to properties that are vacant but for sale.”

    Earlier this week, Wolfer said another family looking to rent a home were scammed of their $500 deposit.

    The realtor estimates about one-third of local real estate listings on Craigslist are fraudulent.

    Wolfer advises prospective renters to search the Osceola County Clerk of Courts website to verify that a property listed in an advertisement isn’t in foreclosure.

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