OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Scammers are using COVID-19 as a way to scam potential renters out of hundreds of dollars.
“It looked just like ours. The price was just drastically different,” said Adam Call, Property Manager of NewJack Properties.
An OKC Property Management Group says one of their rental homes was recently relisted on another site, but by a scammer.
“Definitely an old scam, new tricks. They’re using COVID as a way to not show the property, which we don’t recommend,” Call said.
The scammer stole photos of the house from Zillow, then relisting the property on another site for half of the asking price.
The scammer said in an email with a potential renter that the rent is only $750.
Property manager Adam Call realized the problem when potential renters started calling asking why there was a price difference.
“In that 48 hours after the initial time that we noticed, we still got probably a dozen or more emails that were affected by it,” Call said.
Call said unfortunately two people fell for the listing. Neither wanted to go on camera.
Call says they sent the scammer money and gave away other info.
“Asking for their social security number. Really personal information without viewing the property,” Call said.
The property manager said another red flag from the scammer was the rental application was only one page and was sent in a word document.
The Attorney General’s Office sent News 4 these tips to keep this from happening to you-
- Inspect the property before you send a check or other method of payment
Don’t give into high-pressure sales tactics. Even with the Coronavirus, individuals can find a creative way to tour a property in person, while wearing protective equipment and maintaining social distancing.
- Google the address of the rental property
It is a red flag if the property is listed on multiple sites for different prices.
- When possible do not pay a deposit, or first month’s rent with cash, wire transfer or gift cards
These three methods are untraceable transactions. Once they have your money, it’s likely you won’t get it back.
- Do your homework and be aware of market rates
If the price for the property you are looking at is significantly lower than comparable properties in the same area, it could be a scam.
- If renting through a company, research the company
If there is no website for the company, or information about the realtor you are working with, it could be a scam.
- If a deal sounds too good to be true, it most likely is
If you fall victim to a rental scam, contact local law enforcement or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.