A new real estate scam that targets people looking to rent homes is hurting consumers here in the Panhandle. Pronews 7â??s David Grasso-Ortega had the opportunity to talk a victim who lost $1,300 in this fraudulent transaction.
Melinda McNutt was shopping around for a new home for her large family who needed more room. She visited Trulia.com, and quickly found a home that perfectly suited her needs. Two days later, she received an email from the person she thought was the owner of the property.
Unfortunately, the McNutts got caught up in what is becoming a common scam online. Scammers copy the information and pictures from a legitimate listing on the MLS or Multiple Listing Service, and then offer the property for a price than is usually significantly below market.
Melinda McNutt found her listing through Trulia.com, but craiglist, zillow, and hotpads have also documented cases of this type of rental listing fraud. When youâ??re searching for a new home or apartment to rent remain vigilant. Ms. Mcnutt Said â??Unless you can put your feet in the house, do not send the money.â??
The takeaway from all of this is never wire money to an unknown person for a property youâ??ve never seen. If you want to be sure youâ??re dealing with a legitimate owner, broker your transaction through a local licensed real estate agent. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.