MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Murfreesboro Police Department Criminal Investigations Division fraud detectives are warning residents not to fall victim to crafty home rental scammers. Since the beginning of the year, there have been 22 home rental scams reported in Murfreesboro.
“These scammers often use online sites like Craigslist to post the rental properties,” said Detective Steven Vajcner. “They often steal photos and information of legitimate listings and make fake ads.”
In one of the cases, a female victim sent a scammer $4,190 through the mobile money transferring service Cash App. The money was supposedly for a deposit, first month rent, and a lock box removal fee for a rental property on Hamberton Circle. The woman moved into home with all her belongings. However, while she was out-of-state for a family emergency, she received an eviction notice. The victim called the company about the eviction notice and was informed she is a victim of a rental scam.
In a different incident, a woman saw a home for rent on Facebook on Sunray Drive. The victim sent, who she thought was the landlord, payment through Walmart money transfer for rent and other fees on four separate occasions, totaling $4,140.
“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Vajcner said. “Before you send money to a landlord, do your homework first.”
The Greater Nashville Realtors Assoc.
encourage renters to consider the following:
· Always see the property in person, inside and out.
· Search the rental address to verify it is not for sale or lease by other people.
· Do an Image search the photo to verify the property is not for sale or lease by someone else.
· Search public records to verify you are dealing with the owner or their representative.
· Do not pay any money until you have a copy of the lease.
· Do not give them personal financial information until you are ready to do business.
The rental scam cases remain under investigation.