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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
13 Mid-West Texas Counties
Beware of Phoney Rental Property Offers
April 13, 2010

The BBB is warning folks looking for rental properties to be on the look out for fake offers of rental property.  Several people have been tricked by online want ads that appear to offer premium rental property at bargain basement prices.  In addition the crooks make it appear the properties are being offered by well respected local realtors.

The fake ads appear on online services such as Craig’s list and offer “for rent” properties in upscale neighborhoods sometimes with attractive pictures inside and outside of the home.  Prospective tenants that respond to the ads then are contacted via email.  The email addresses are such that they appear to be from local realtors. 

In reality, the information about the property, photos and identity of the realtors are hijacked by the crooks from other legitimate listings for property.  The properties are legitimately listed for sale and not for rent. Potential tenants that respond to the emails are sent applications then instructed to send a deposit and the first months rent via a wire transfer service such as money gram or Western Union. Victims include local people looking to move and military families relocating to the area. When you are searching for rental property BBB offers the following tips:

  • Be cautious when using online want ad services and be familiar with their fraud alert sections.
  • Stick with rental listings that you know
  • Know local rental rates and watch out for extra low rents
  • Independently verify rental property
  • Be suspicious of payments using wire transfer services