Scam offers homes for sale as rentals

BURLINGTON, N.C. — A fake advertisement online is bringing people to an actual front door in Burlington. Those drawn in by the cheap price are met with a dose of reality when they realize that the deal is too good to be true.

“I just wanted to come see the place first, make sure it was in an area I would like,” said Jischelle Gray, who’s in the market to rent.

She saw the home listed on Boone Station Drive and was about to drive away from the home and call the realtor listed in the window.

Then we told her that the home was not truly listed as a rental like it says online but is only for sale.

“It’s an inconvenience, it’s a waste of time and it’s scary to know that I could have fallen for it,” said Gray.

Gray is not alone. Realtor Laci McCauley has received more than 20 calls since Sunday from people hoping to jump on the low rental price.

“You come across deals in rentals and sales every now and then but for what they’re posting these properties for it’s absolutely, insanely good deals that just don’t exist,” said McCauley.

The problem lies with a rental listing of the property on Trulia.com. That’s where Gray saw the home.

LeAnna Henderson also contacted FOX8 after reaching out online to the person behind the rental ad. She received a strange email that said the homeowners were not available to show the house because they were in Nigeria on a religious mission.

“He asked me to Western Union $300 to get house keys after I sent him general information about myself,” said Henderson.

Henderson declined and contacted FOX8.

McCauley has also seen emails between people interested in renting the property and the person who posted the false ad.

“Most of them understand that this is a scam someone started,” said McCauley.

McCauley has also been in contact with the Trulia site about getting the listing pulled as a rental but adds that these scams are also popping up on sites popular with people searching for a home like Zillow and Craigslist.

The Better Business Bureau said they’ve received more than 4,300 calls about similar emails in the last 12 months.

If you feel like you’ve come across a false ad report it to the web site where you found the listing and contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32,659 other followers