Rental property scam hits Fremont County

by | Nov 18, 2019 4:05PM

The Lander Police Department shared the following information:

There appears to be an on-line scam floating around, targeting rental properties. Recently, a citizen who owns several properties in Lander found some of his properties listed on what appears to be a fictitious website, “housesforrent.ws.” Luckily, this owner’s due diligence prevented another citizen succumbing to this scam.

In this particular instance, several indicators deemed this to appear to be a scam;

1) a fictitious lease agreement prepared by the alleged “scammer” which looked legitimate;
2) the subject never provides his/her name, only a telephone number, (225) 240-8949 which is a New Roads, Louisiana phone number;
3) the subject then requested the payment and the lease agreement be mailed to an address in Ravenna, Ohio;
4) the fictitious website domain of “.ws” is the internet country code for the country of Samoa.

It is recommended if you choose to search for residential rentals anywhere, you use legitimate real estate websites; remax.comrealtor.comzillow.com, etc. If you find a specific property on one site and not any others, this is indicative of a possible scam. Research the property of which you are looking into renting. To be on the safe side, never send any money or signed documents to anyone you haven’t personally met.

What happens in these types of scams is had this victim followed through, the victim would have sent money and a signed copy of the lease agreement (with other personal information on it) to this scammer. Once the scammer received the payment and the signed agreement, the scammer would then give the “OK” for the new rentor to move-in. The rentor will then quickly find out the rental property they applied for/paid for is already occupied/rented upon move-in day. In a state of hysteria and confusion, the rentor would never be able to communicate with the scammer or anyone affiliated with the fictitious website as the scammer had cut all ties with their victim. Ultimately, the victim would be out a significant amount of money (which is usually security/pet deposits, first/last month’s rent, etc), no new place to move-in to and the place they just moved-out of probably has already been rented out.

For more information, please visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/…/keys-avoiding-home-rental-sc….

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