News & Crime of the Week

Real Estate Rental Fraud

Post Date:04/20/2020 2:12 PM

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Gina V. Hawkins

Chief of Police

Release: IMMEDIATE                       Contact:  Sgt. J. Glass, Public Information Officer

Date: April 20, 2020                           Phone: (910) 433-1487

 

Real Estate Rental Fraud

 

           

(Fayetteville, NC) – Detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department are seeing a resurgence of cases involving real estate rental fraud, and wish to inform the public to help prevent more victims.

 

Typically these type of cases involve the victims finding a listing on social media or classified ad website. These listings are not from a property management company, and are usually listed as “for rent by owner”. This fraud scheme may even involve a written “lease” to appear legitimate, but the communications and paperwork will not be done in person. The suspect will have the victim, “tenant,” send the rent money through a cash application, like “PayPal”, or via mail, often before the written lease is ever provided.

 

The Fayetteville Police Department would like to remind citizens to conduct this type of business through a licensed property management company if possible. If renting directly from the homeowner, ask to have personal contact (while abiding by the current COVID-19 safety guidelines), and follow-up through the Cumberland County Tax Administration to confirm proper ownership.

 

Here are a few ways to identify a scam:

  1. They do not want, or are unavailable, to meet you in person.
  2. They want you to move in immediately, without ever seeing the property.
  3. They ask you to mail, wire, or use a cash sending application to send money.
  4. The price is too good, or well below fair market value.
  5. The listing has poor grammar, typographical errors, or excessive punctuation.
  6. There is no screening process such as a rental application or credit check.
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