Tulsa police warn of online rental scams – 102.3 KRMG
TULSA, Okla. – The Tulsa Police Department said Friday it is seeing an increase in rental property scams.
Tulsa police say a scammer would steal photographs of real estate for sale from a trusted website like Zillow, then create a ‘duplicate post’ on a website like Craigslist or another online marketplace , listing the same property for “rent”.
A potential tenant will see a house for rent on Craigslist and think it’s legit and when they respond to the ad and inquire about viewing the property, the scammer will come up with an excuse as to why they can’t actually enter the property, police said. .
The police said the scammer will most likely offer some kind of “discount” if you pay 3 months rent up front or send an immediate deposit or pay the deposit, or the first month’s rent via gift cards , or an app-based money transfer from Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App.
In the end, you just sent a scam artist thousands of dollars for a property you thought you were renting, only to find out the property was never for “rent” in the first place, police say.
It was actually for sale by the current owner or through a real estate company.
Here are some red flags to look for when looking for a house to rent:
• The tenant will not let you visit the interior of the property until you have signed the contract or paid the deposit.
• The tenant finds excuses as to why they cannot meet you at the property to allow you to look inside.
• Wants you to pay deposit using gift cards or payments via Zelle, Venmo or Cash App.
What can you do to avoid being scammed?
• Research the potential property you wish to rent thoroughly. If during your research you find the same home listed “for sale” by a real estate agent on other trusted websites, but for private rent on Craigslist or Marketplace, think twice about that property.
• Find out who the real owner of the property is through the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office. You can get this information on their website at assessor.tulsacounty.org.
• If the landlord doesn’t match the person you’re trying to rent from, stop all communication.
• Don’t send money for down payments or first month’s rent to someone you’ve never met in person.
• Never send payment via gift cards or to someone you have never met in person via Zelle, Venmo or Cash App. If you have been the victim of a rental scam, please file a police report online at www.tulsapolice.org.
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