Posted By Alan Donald @ Jul 9th 2009 4:30pm In: Renters

Online ScammerI just learned of a new version of a scam targeting prospective tenants and using real listings - here is how it works:

Scene 1: A Realtor lists an REO (lender-owned) vacant home for sale online (MLS,, etc.)

Scene 2: The scammer picks up the pictures and address of the property, and uses them to place a "For Rent" ad on Craigslist or another online marketplace, at a below-market rental, saying they are the owners, that they were transferred out of town for work, that they tried selling, but since the economy is so bad, they are just going to rent it out.

They even send full applications and real contracts by email, ask the prospective tenants to email the application, act like they are checking references, etc. and then tell the "approved tenants" to wire their money (first months' rent and security deposit) via Western Union to say, London, England. They then tell the prospective tenant that they will mail them the keys before the first of the month, and that they can just toss the Realtor's signs when they move in, since they are not selling anymore.

Scene 3: The keys never arrive, and the tenants lose their money.





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