Realtors warn of renters’ scam targeting Moffat County residents and properties
When Shannon Goodban saw the price of a property here in Craig for rent on housesforrent.ws, she was blown away at the possible deal available.
After some back and forth text messages with the supposed property owner, Goodban did what every potential renter should do. She contacted a realtor in Moffat County to see if the property was still available for rent and if the price online was true.
Turns out, Goodban had stumbled upon a renters’ scam targeting Moffat County properties and residents.
Fortunately for Goodban, she avoided sending any money to the scammer thanks to her instinct to check with a property management company.
“I was online one day looking for homes for rent in Craig when I stumbled upon one that had come down significantly in price,” Goodban said. “When I tried calling the number listed, it was disconnected, so that should have been my first red flag.
“I kept scrolling on the website though and saw another property listed by the same name, this time with a different number. So, I tried calling that, but he then texted me instead,” Goodban added.
She said it was a bit strange that someone would just text when trying to rent out a property. At first, she chalked it up to them being at work or unable talk on the phone, but as the conversation on a texting app continued, Goodban’s red flags went up, leading to her contacting Vicki Burns at Brass Key Realty to get more information.
“When we first started talking, I didn’t even get the person’s name,” Goodban said. “I thought that was weird, so I asked. Then gave me three names…that was a red flag. After that, I asked when we could meet and he said as soon as I did an application, which would cost $50. Then he kept saying ‘ASAP, ASAP’ in regards to stuff and told me he would take the property I was interested in off the market immediately and that’s when I knew it was a scam.”
Once she placed a call to Burns, that set off a chain reaction with Burns contacting Country Living Realty, which was showing the property, and also the Craig Police Department to tip them off to a cyber crime.
“I don’t want to say something like that has never happened here, but it’s be a long time since anything like this has happened to our properties in Craig,” Burns said.
While Goodban avoided being scammed out of money and personal information, local realtors are using the property scam as a way to educated potential future renters.
“The recommendation or advice I would give to future renters would be to check with real estate offices for properties that are for rent,” Burns said. “…Anything they get on social media, they need to be careful with, especially with people trying to pull off various types of scams. Don’t send any type of money to anybody. Thank goodness Shannon avoided that.”
Country Living Realty’s Yvonne Gustin echoed Burns’ comments regarding future renters.
“Go to a property management company and verify with the office if there is any questions about the property,” Gustin said. “If it’s a private owner, meet him or her at the property and take a look at it in person.
“The biggest thing is, if it’s too good to be true, question it.”
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