RENTAL AND REAL ESTATE SCAMS
March 12, 2010
Individuals need to be cautious when posting rental properties
and real estate on-line according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) continues to receive
numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to
scams involving rentals of apartments and houses, as well as
postings of real estate online.
Rental scams occur when the victim has rental property advertised
and is contacted by an interested party. Once the rental price
is agreed-upon, the scammer forwards a check for the deposit
on the rental property to the victim. The check is to cover housing
expenses and is, either written in excess of the amount required,
with the scammer asking for the remainder to be remitted back,
or the check is written for the correct amount, but the scammer
backs out of the rental agreement and asks for a refund. Since
the banks do not usually place a hold on the funds, the victim
has immediate access to them and believes the check has cleared.
In the end, the check is found to be counterfeit and the victim
is held responsible by the bank for all losses.
Another type of scam involves real estate that is posted via
classified advertisement websites. The scammer duplicates postings
from legitimate real estate websites and reposts these ads, after
altering them. Often, the scammers use the broker's real name
to create a fake e-mail, which gives the fraud more legitimacy.
When the victim sends an e-mail through the classified advertisement
website inquiring about the home, they receive a response from
someone claiming to be the owner. The "owner" claims
he and his wife are currently on missionary work in a foreign
country. Therefore, he needs someone to rent their home while
they are away. If the victim is interested in renting the home,
they are asked to send money to the owner in the foreign country.
If you have been a victim of Internet crime, you can file a complaint
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