Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Reports Of Craigslist Rental Housing Scams Becoming More Prominent On Law Enforcement Radar

In Vancouver, Washington, The Columbian reports:
  • With housing vacancy rates in the area at extremely low levels, the Vancouver Police Department is reminding rental home hunters to watch out for rental scams.

    A commonly used scam tactic involves criminals posting homes listed as for sale as available for rent on Craigslist, unknown to the actual property owner.

    A person responds to the ad, fills out paperwork and then is asked to pay first and last month’s rent and put down a deposit.

    But then, the grifters demand payment via cashier’s check, money order or credit card, often telling would-be renters they can’t even get a look at the house before paying.

    By the time a renter goes to get the keys and discovers what happened, the scammer has left with the money, the department said. Since the contact and account information for the con men is all fake, investigators often can’t find a suspect.

    The department reminded renters that no legitimate property manager would request money and not allow a look at the home prior to making a deal. Also, the police advised homes for sale are often listed on the Web along with contact information for real estate agents, with whom searchers can check out the property’s status.

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