The most prevalent scam these days for Santa Maria is the “Craigslist scam” wherein the “too good to be true” rental properties always have the potential renter wire the money to an out of state location promising to “mail the keys” upon receipt of the funds.Today’s scam: Our office got a call from people who were victim to a craigslist scam. They had sent $800 dollars to the scammers, the scammers said to send the money to them and they will receive the key. Investigation is in progress.
About a week ago: an agent in our office found that someone had posted her current listing, a vacant home, for rent on Trulia. They found and used an owner’s name on the property who has not been involved with the home for many years. The letter head for the rental agreement is based out of Idaho and the kicker is they are saying the broker involved in the transaction is a Realtor out of the Central Valley who is a member of our local board. The good news is that we do have a viable phone number for the scammer and that person is answering the phone.
Newer Scam: It was last week when I received a call from the Code enforcement agency stating that while they were out checking properties, they came across a family standing in front of one of our listings who claimed they had just rented the place. There was no information listed on any online web site/page. It was the old back my number from the bottom of a posting that was taped to the water cooler at a local grocery market. When police investigated the grocery store, that posting had already been removed thus they are continuing their investigation.
If you’re a Real Estate professional protect your clients! If the home you are selling is vacant and your MLS allows please post the following in the public area “This home is not for Rent.” This will go out to all the larger sites where these crooks are scrapping information from. Most likely they will not even read or realize that they posted “This home is not for rent.” Hopefully to help victims avoid being scammed the prospective renter see’s the verbiage that the home is for sale and not for rent.Another Real Estate agent TIP! Use “Google Alerts.” It’s free and really good at finding not only the bogus posts but it also lets you know what additional marketing is going on with your listings.
Everyone please be careful, avoid these scams and make sure you tell your friends.
Image courtesy of http://www.rentittoday.com/rental-blog/8194/beware-vacation-rental-scams