False rental ads are on the rise again in the metro

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Whether buying or renting, finding a place to call home has been incredibly difficult lately. With near-record demand, fraud is causing even more chaos.

There’s a scam that’s back in fashion on the subway. Fraudsters are flocking to a booming housing market, taking advantage of a lack of rental inventory.

The Better Business Bureau has seen an increase in rental scams over the past two years.

But local real estate agents are once again sounding the alarm.

“It’s a shame that this is how some people try to make money,” said Haley Doggett of LIME Realty. “There aren’t a lot of remedies unfortunately.”

Haley invited KFOR to a house on the southwest side of the subway which for some reason caught the attention of the crooks.

“One day our handy lady was working here, and a few people showed up and said, ‘Hey, we’re here for the keys. We have this lease, what’s next? “Haley explained. “[Handy lady] said, ‘I don’t think that’s right.’

While the house was actually on the rental market, fake ads had made their way onto social media.

Some victims went so far as to post bail, thinking they would soon move in.

“At least three people lost $500 because of this man,” Haley said. “He had no right to list it as a rental property.”

This same situation played out two years ago at another Metro home, when In Your Corner spoke with many potential tenants stopping to inspect, unaware that the listings they had seen were fake. .

The FTC has tips for people to avoid such fraud. They urge consumers to do the following:

  • Be sure and compare prices with similar rental homes, to see if the listing is too good to be true.
  • Research the address on several ad sites to see if it is consistent throughout.
  • If possible, meet the listing agent in person.
  • Never pay a deposit by sending cash, bank transfers or gift cards.

Haley also recommends that potential tenants be wary of these money transfer apps.

“Largely, [scammers] accept money through Cash App,” she explained. “There’s not much we can do other than let people know it’s very, very prevalent.”

There are steps officers can also take to slow down fraud.

Haley tells News 4 that LIME Realty will now use watermarks on photos in its listings, making them harder to use on bogus listings.

For more advice from the FTC, click here.

About Gene Schafer

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