Houston County Sheriff’s Office reports increase in rental scams
WARNER ROBINS, Georgia(41NBC/WMGT)— The Houston County Sheriff’s office is warning of an increase in scams when it comes to buying and renting homes. Investigators say just because you can send money and buy anything right from your phone, not everything you see online is true.
Sergeant Anna Lange, an investigator with the Houston County Sheriff’s Office, says there are some things to keep in mind so you don’t become a victim. First, if you’re looking to buy or rent a home, never submit a payment through a payment application.
“You also have to worry about scammers filling out applications,” said Lange. “That includes all their pertinent and personal information, that somebody that would steal your identity could use.”
Ciara Hernandez is a local realtor and she says she is all too familiar with these types of scams. She says she’s had three listings targeted by scammers.
“Scammers have gotten really smart, to where they’ll research on the tax accessors website the owners name,” said Hernandez. “They then take the owners name and address, put it on Facebook, on Craigslist, offering the house for rent when it’s actually for sale.”
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says:
- If you’re asked to pay upfront and in an unusual way, that’s a red flag
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
- Find out who owns the property
- Put the address into Google and type scam behind it
- Report a scam to the BBB
“When you’re looking at renting a house in a neighborhood that you’re not used to, or a city that you’re not from, look up with the tax records,” said Kelvin Collins the President and CEO of the Central Georgia BBB.