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Scammers targeting home rentals | Crime

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Scammers targeting home rentals
Crime, News, Real Estate
Scammers targeting home rentals

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - If you are looking to rent a home, beware. The Attorney General's Office is getting reports of scammers who are advertising homes that are not for rent.

This scam is nothing new. It has been going on in Arkansas for years, but people are still falling victim to it. Scammers are stealing pictures from legitimate real estate ads and making it look like homes are for rent when they are not. They are getting people when they are most vulnerable.

WATCH STORY: http://on.kthv.com/1hu3Fja

"It was heartbreaking to think that she was no't going to have the things that she needed to succeed because I fell for this," said Mary Lorance.

Like any mother, Mary Lorance is looking for what is best for her daughter. She wants her to go to a good school and live in a nice neighborhood. Mary had her sights set on renting a home in Cabot.

"I just Googled Cabot homes for rent," said Lorance.

She found a house in her price range.

"It was beautiful, and there were several pictures of it up on the Internet."

She filled out an application and was told she was approved. The alleged scammer told her they were out of town and they would mail her keys. Lorance ended up sending in $2,000 and has not seen the keys or the money since.

"It is sad," said Lorance. "People trying to rent things that are not theirs."

"A legitimate realtor will put a house or houses for sale on their website with photos," said Deputy Attorney General Jim DePriest. "The scammer comes along and hijacks those photos and descriptions."

DePriest says the scammers then post the pictures on a different site and say they are for rent. DePriest says it is even easier for people looking for a vacation home to fall victim.

"Call a local realtor," said DePriest. "Make sure that it is a legitimate listing. Have someone local check it out for you."

DePriest adds to beware of below-market rate rental offers and to remember the old saying, if it is too good to be true it probably is.

"Never wire the money," said DePriest. "Always deal with someone face to face when you are renting property."

That is something, Mary quickly learned.

"You need to see it," said Lorance.

The most recent report of this coming in to the Attorney General's Office happened in northwest Arkansas.


Crime, News, Real Estate