JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Local real estate agents say scammers are trying to get money from prospective renters of properties they do not own.
In recent cases, Jonesboro police say scammers copy local rental listings that have expired or have been removed from legitimate websites. The scammers then repost those listings with their own contact information to make the post seem genuine.
In many scams like these, renters are offered a property at below market rate and are not allowed to go inside the apartment or home.
Renters are told they must immediately wire money for the first month's rent through a money transfer service or provide personal information in order to secure the 'deal.'
They are then told that after they send the money, they will receive the keys to the property in the mail. After the scammers get the victim's money, they cut off all contact.
According to JPD, there are several red flags in recognizing these scams:
· Requests to wire funds immediately to someone you have not met, particularly for a property you have not been allowed inside of.
· Long distance landlords who claim to be missionaries or in the military.
· Requests for personal or financial information.
· Typographical errors or 'sob' stories through emails.
There are several safeguards to help renters avoid these scams:
· Property managers will allow renters to pay any needed deposits at their offices.
· Property managers will show the property to prospective tenants.
· Renters can always call the number listed on the real estate sign at the property to check the offer.
· If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.