Beware of scammers renting homes that are for sale

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 6:47 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A warning for you if you’re in the market to rent a house, beware of a social media scam aimed at taking your money. Criminals recently tried to rent a house for sale in Fondren. The realtor has some tips that can help you avoid this trap.

Realtor Traci Maloney listed a two-bedroom, two-bath house on Eagle Avenue in Fondren for sale, but scammers posted the home for rent on Facebook Marketplace, posing as the owner.

“Just listed last Thursday, and it was posted as a rental scam within 12 hours,” said Maloney.

The actual owner put pictures of the house on her Facebook page to let her friends know it was for sale.

“Within about six hours, her mom actually saw it on Facebook Marketplace for rent for $700.00 a month,” said the licensed realtor and broker. “They pulled the interior and exterior pictures and made it look like their own and just added their own verbiage.”

The fraudster communicated with a potential renter, stating that they were no longer selling, describing themselves as an upfront person who worked hard for money to acquire the property. Maloney recommends you do extensive research.

“You can easily Google the address and find out from the address,” said Maloney. “Is it for sale on some other site? Is it for rent on some other site? Are you getting consistent information?”

Other suggestions require a walk-through of the property. Never send cash or use cash apps; instead, pay with a bank cashier’s check.

“Buyer beware. There are a lot of people out there looking for victims,” added the 24-year real estate agent.

The owner and Maloney contacted Facebook Marketplace, and the post was immediately removed. The rental scam was also reported to the Federal Trade Commission, which tracks and investigates the fraudulent schemes.

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