Be Wary of This Rental Scam in Iowa
Tons of amazing things have been possible because of the internet. Social media allows users to keep in touch with friends and family from all over the world, you now have the convenience to buy almost anything while sitting on your couch, and billions of dollars have been raised for a variety of charities and causes around the entire world.
While there are all kinds of positive things that the advancement of the internet has led us to, this is a good time for a reminder that the internet can be a pretty dangerous place if you're not careful.
Misty Metschke is a realtor in Ames, Iowa, and she spoke to KCRG to warn people of a scam being targeted at people looking for homes to rent. Misty started realizing there was something wrong when she started receiving weird phone calls about a home her client had for sale.
According to KCRG, the phone calls were asking about possibly renting this particular home. The problem with that was the house wasn't available to rent, it was up for sale. She then found out someone had been advertising this home for rent on Facebook Marketplace.
What shocked Misty the most was how complex the scam was. She told KCRG, the scam actually seemed legitimate
The scammer [created] a fake email address with the real seller’s name in a Gmail address. Making it seem actually kind of legitimate.
The good news is at least one person got in contact with Misty to let her know there might be something going on with the property she was trying to sell. Someone contacted her after noticing grammer errors in an email, which you should normally consider a red flag. The Better Business Bureau Iowa has also taken note of scams like this popping up around Iowa and the rest of the country.
Chris Coleman is the President of the BBB and he told KCRG, these scams started to increase as the housing market began to shift.
They’re getting your personal information that can be used in a really expensive, bad way. Honestly, the amount is significant.
As someone who has also run into a scam artist on Facebook Marketplace, it's always better to be safe than sorry. If something appears even a bit off, don't give up any money or personal information. I once tried selling a dog kennel on Facebook Marketplace and took the post down 2 days later after receiving up to 10 sketchy messages asking about it. All of these messages had the same feel to them and they all sounded pretty much the same. Not only that, all of the profiles that sent the messages seemed fake.
There are things you can do to keep yourself safe from housing scams like these. Coleman told KCRG, the first thing you should do is "research the property." Check the address as it may pop up in other cities or states. You should also drive past the home to make sure it exists and look for signs that say for sale or for rent. You should also look at similarly priced homes and never exchange money over apps. You don't know where the money is going or who it is going to.
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