Scam warning for property owners, and renters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Scam warning for property owners, and renters

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A scam warning for people looking to sell their homes or to rent one.  At least two Albany properties, up for sale, have appeared on the internet site Craigslist as rentals.

The problem is, the home owners didn't list them for rent and didn't give anyone else permission to either. The scammer is out for deposit money or credit information that they can use to steal from unsuspecting victims.

Allyson Jones wants to drum up interest in her Lake Park home, to get it to sell. But she hasn't decided to rent the home. That's why she was shocked when someone contacted her and said they saw it on Craigslist for rent.

She said, "I was immediately just taken about because my house is not for rent. I went and checked Craigslist, sure enough, there's my house, pictures, everything, exactly like's on the MLS website, so I was shocked, very shocked."

Unfortunately, Sheriff Kevin Sproul is not.  He said, "There are thousands of people, I like to say, that are in cyberspace, waiting for the next victim."

Jones contacted the Sheriff's office to report the listing on Craigslist. Now it's being investigated as yet another scam. "A new scam everyday," said Lt. Dean Gore.  He says this scam involved the potential renter sending their credit information to the person trying to rent it.

Gore said, "They wanted you to fill out a credit report and send it to them. I would imagine once they got hold of your credit reports, then they'd have all their vital information."

Realtor Sal Giovingo says similar scams have been reported to the state and national board of realtors, and passed along to the FBI and other agencies to investigate.  He said, "We realize that people are taking information, copying and pasting or scraping it, as it's also known, off websites, altering that information and presenting information to the public that's different than what's actually being offered."

He says it's always important to check out who you are sending personal information to. "Make sure you know who you're sending it to. You've seen them, know them, go to their place of business to be careful."

As for Jones, she's glad she found out about the scam and hopes others aren't taken advantage of.  She said, "Hopefully it can just make everybody else more aware, unfortunately, more aware of people out there that are scamming people."

The emails from the person trying to rent the Jones' property, originated in Washington State. The listing was reported to Craigslist. It was taken down, though it was placed back on Craigslist Thursday.


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