GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A quick search on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace will turn up pages of listings for rental properties in the Triad, some too good to be true.
FOX8 found several listings for three-bedroom houses in Greensboro, Guilford County and Winston-Salem listed around $800 per month.
When we searched the same homes on Zillow, the houses were listed for sale under real estate agents or property owners who confirmed the scam.
“I had a least four or five people text me and tell me I’m being scammed,” said Lynette Batton, who owns a home in Sunset Hills.
“These people apparently were charging a $50 application fee, so it was really more about the money,” she added.
A three-bedroom home advertised on Craigslist in Browns Summit for $820 per month is really for sale by Melissa Greer.
“I had no idea it was on a rental site,” she said on Wednesday.
High Point police have investigated three similar rental home scams so far this year, and Winston-Salem police have taken more than 15 complaints.
“It’s rampant right now, these kinds of scams,” Greer explained. “There’s an uptick because the rental market is as tight as the sales market. People are really having a hard time finding rentals, and the rentals have gotten more expensive, so this looks even more attractive to people,” she added.
“We’ve had incidents where people are living in the house, thinking they have officially rented it from someone, only to find out, we get a phone call at the police department, ‘hey these people are squatting in our residence,’” said Winston-Salem Detective M.A. Barker.
We emailed contacts for the listings who asked for a credit check and told us to check out the exteriors of the home before proceeding.
One of the fake owners claimed to be a nurse living in Nevada.
“They’re very good at social engineering you and getting answers from you just by talking to you…they’re con artists,” Barker said.
He urged owners and agents to search addresses on sites like Craigslist to find scammers and report fake listings.