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Beware of Online Rental Scam

Scams in the WWW

There’s another scam out there, and this time it involves rental properties. 

Scammers are constantly thinking of new ways to rip people off. Whether they call you claiming that a loved one is in trouble and you need to send money, or they claim to be a bill collector trying to collect a debt. The goal is the same: get your money.

The Ulster County District Attorney’s Division of Consumer Affairs are warning prospective tenants of an online rental scam, popular on Craigslist and elsewhere.

How the scam works:

The scammer list a property which he/she does not own. The information, complete with photographs is accurate since they have downloaded it from a legitimate brokerage firm.

They will then get you to accept the property and pay for it, without seeing it first. They will then promise to send you keys or have you pick them up from an agent after payment is received.

Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • You can verify the owner of a property by contacting the County Clerk’s Office where the property is located. If it comes up under a different name, it’s a sign that the legitimate owner’s ad has been hijacked.
  • Do not wire money to pay a security deposit, application fee, or first month’s rent. Wiring money is like sending cash.
  • If you can’t see a property before signing a lease, walk away from the deal. You may not be dealing with a legitimate property owner, or the place might not even exist.
  • Remember, if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Consumer Affairs can be reached at (845) 340-3260


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