Scam Buster: Rental Scams Making a Comeback

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Selling your home can be stressful. And homeowners these days have one more thing to worry about—scam artists.

“I got an email from a lady who actually works for the county revenue commission and she was trying to assist someone she knew with just finding a house to rent,” says Realtor Rosemary Williams.

They found this house in Midtown on Craigslist and emailed who they thought was the homeowner. The response they got sounded fishy.

“And said if you will send me this amount of money, I will send you the keys. The email sounded long and rambling so she decided to drive by the house,” says Williams.

That’s when they saw the Berkshire Hathaway sign in the yard and called Realtor Rosemary Williams who told them it was a scam. Here’s how it works–

“What they’ll do, they’ll find a legitimate house that’s for sale or rent, take these pictures, crop them out, copy and paste them and create their own Craigslist ad,” says Sgt. Joe Mahoney with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.

They’ll make some excuse as to why they can’t meet you in person and have you send them the money. Once they have that, they’re gone.

“If someone can’t take you to that house with a key and physically show you the house, you want to stay away from it,” says Mahoney.

We spoke with the actual homeowner on the phone today who didn’t want us to release her name.

“I was quite angry and upset that someone would use my property to try to scam others,” says the homeowner.

Even though this scam has been reported to Craigslist and the local police, this listing is still up on Craigslist, and in fact the scammer even made a second listing of this same house.

Here it is on Craigslist, we found it easily. And even here at the bottom is a note from Craigslist warning folks against scammers. There are ways to find out if a listing is real.

“Google it. A lot of times you can just google an address, it’ll pop up. If it’s truly for rent or sale, a lot of time the realty company handling it will have it listed on their site,” says Mahoney.

And remember, you can never be too careful. I’m Ashley Knight and this scam has been busted.

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