Delaware State Police Warning Of Renter Scam - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Delaware State Police Warning Of Renter Scam

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DELAWARE - Delaware State Police says they are providing a scam alert advisory.  This is a general alert which covers any part of the State of Delaware.

Troopers are reportedly warning renters to be on the lookout for scammers on Craigslist, Zillow.com, and other online classifieds when searching for a home.   Many prospective renters find homes through online classifieds.  Police say sadly, some people who think they have found the perfect home online are being set up by scammers.  Phony ads for rental properties across the state are reportedly cropping up, and are specifically aimed at stealing money from unsuspecting renters. 

Police say renters typically fall victim to this scam after responding to an online classified for a rental property.  Victims reportedly say they were told by the supposed landlord that they needed to wire a specified amount of money as a deposit and then they would receive the keys to the rental home.  When the victims asked if they could check out the property first, the landlords allegedly claimed that they were out of the country and could not show the house.  Police say often the real homeowners have their house up for sale, not rent, and had pictures posted online that the scammers could steal for their bogus listings.

Troopers advises renters of the following red flags to look out for:

• The deal sounds too good to be true.  Scammers will often list a rental for a very low price to lure in victims.  Find out how comparable listings are priced, and if the rental comes in suspiciously low, walk away.
• The landlord is located elsewhere and prefers to communicate via e-mail.  Scammers might say they have just been relocated out of the country for a job or missionary work - don't believe it.
• The landlord requires a substantial deposit before handing over the keys or even showing the home.  Don't pay any money before inspecting the home, inside and out.
• The landlord asks the renter to wire money through wire transfer services such as Western Union or Money Gram.  Money sent via wire transfer service is extremely difficult to retrieve and once the scammers have picked it up; there is little recourse, if any, for getting your money back.

Police say these scams are difficult to investigate, and they will target persons of all age groups. Delaware State Police is asking citizens to remember the tips previously mentioned in order to not become a victim of one of these scam artists. 

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