Scams in Tahoe Area

The following is an email from Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors:


IMPORTANT! Please be aware, the following scams are going on in our area:

Renting on behalf of the owner. The scam artist claims to be helping someone else rent the property. They might be sick, or overseas, or just too busy to do it themselves for whatever reason. Sometimes they will break in and change the locks to show the home. Once the scammer collects first, last, deposits and fees they skip town. The renter then discovers the home wasn’t for rent. The owners or renters may have been away for business or pleasure, or it’s a vacation home, or it could be a foreclosed property, or for sale. NOTE: Agents check your listings often, if an agent calls to say the key in the lockbox isn’t working, this could be a tip off that the locks have been changed.

Nigerian Rental Scams. This scam is a variation of other scams but differs in that it takes place on the internet and the scammer doesn’t need to be present and may never have been to the property. This scam is especially dangerous because it targets both property owners and renters. Homeowners list their homes for sale with real estate agents, who then list the homes for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and also with public search websites, which allow individuals to query homes for sale via the Internet. Nigerian scammers find homes listed for sale on these public search sites, copy the pictures and listings verbatim, and then post the information onto Craigslist under available housing rentals hoping someone will be willing to wire them the first and last month’s rent, security deposits, and assorted fees. Once the money is wired to the scammer, they show up at the house, see the home is actually for sale, are unable to access the property, and their money is gone. If you happen to see something on Craigslist that looks scammy, you should send an email to abuse@craigslist.org and give them as much detail as you can about the listing. Make sure you include URL (or 8 digit post ID number) in your email.

Renting with the intent of renting to others. This scam works just how it sounds. A scam artist rents a property so they can show it to other prospective renters. They’ll collect first and last month’s rent, security deposits and any fees or charges they can squeeze out of their victims before skipping town with the loot. There have been reports of a single property being leased or rented to dozens of people before the crook vanished with their money.

New Mortgage Scam – Has your mortgage really been sold? The fraud plays off the frequent sales of mortgages. Banks buy and sell residential mortgages all the time, meaning the bank you sign up with may not be the bank you end up making payments to for the entire term of your loan. Villains know this. The attorney general’s office in Nevada says two men set up a business to steal homeowners’ mortgage payments by fraudulently claiming the homeowners’ bank had sold their mortgage.

Lead Generation Scam. This scam involves a lead sent through a lead generation program. Usually a foreign dignitary requires assistance in purchasing a home. The scam is they need you to purchase it for them and will pay you back plus extra.

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