BBB releases a study that shows rental scams on the rise

Rental scams on the rise

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The Better Business Bureau released a study showing that rental scams are on the rise. The BBB is reporting that 5 million people have fallen victim.

Wichita Falls resident Jack Browne said a property he once owned was used by a scammer.

“It was a two bedroom, 1,000 square-foot house, and one bathroom. I was trying to sell it or rent it,” Browne said.

Naturally he advertised his Wichita Falls home on Facebook.

Then, Browne got a call from a customer, but the customer told him they had also talked to someone else who claimed they lived in Seattle. They also claimed that they were the real owner of the home.

“He wanted her to wire transfer the money for the rent and the deposit, and that he would federal express the keys to her,” Browne remembers.

Luckily the customer did not fall victim.

As Browne said, “She was cautious enough to make one more call before she wire transferred the money.”

Rental scams are not new, but the BBB’s study shows that 43% of people shopping for homes online have encountered scams.

Sometime scammers will pretend to be a rental agent.

Denny Bishop of Bishop Realtor Group said, “…[Scammers] putting out information on a house that’s for sale making it a lease property on their information and then trying to get people to send their deposit to sometimes foreign countries.”

Browne urges potential home buyers to look into who really owns the home they are interested in.

“There are absentee renters that don’t live in the marketplace. typically, they’ll use real estate agents. When someone is using a real estate agent to rent the house, or a property management service, those people know how to get a hold of the owner,” Browne said.

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