By Vestpro Residential Services
If you’re searching for a rental property in the Houston TX area it’s likely that you may have seen at least one ad online that’s a rental scam.
The way these scams typically work is it all starts with an ad that was supposedly written by an owner who lives out of state.
Once you contact the owner, they will tell you to go check out the property for yourself and then contact them via email if you’re interested in renting it or not.
If you like the house, the owner will ask you to send them a payment online or a money order in exchange for keys but when most people send their payment the “owner” never sends the keys and the person who falls for the scam finds out that the rental is in fact earned by someone else.
Half of Young Renters Have Fallen for Rental Scams
The three-bedroom home on Lexington Court in Largo, Fla., 20 miles north of St. Petersburg, looked like the perfect family home, with a nice front yard, central cooling and laminate floors. For 18 families, it turned it was too good to be true — and at a serious cost.
A married couple, Nicole and David Johnson, allegedly posed as the owners of the rental property, giving tours and collecting more than $25,000 from those families, local television news station WFTS reported in late June.
The home, it turned out, belonged to Nicole Johnson’s parents and was not available for rent. The Johnsons targeted the families using social media and by posting to Craigslist. Local police have called it the largest rental scam they’ve ever seen. Many of the victims only realized that the listing was a fraud when they showed up to the property on the same day and notified police.
Some of those families were moving to Florida from out of state, and many have had to resort to GoFundMe campaigns in an effort to recoup their losses, according to WFTS. The scammers are believed to have fled the state.
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