Rental Scams Hit the Area…Again

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs TX Broker 0513551

Rental Scams Hit Garland TX
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My phone has been ringing like crazy all morning long. Almost all the calls are about a new lease listing in Garland, TX at 3313 Ivanhoe.

Apparently some low-life has poached my listing and posted it on HotPads at $700. They’ve looked up the owner’s name and it’s made to look like a For Lease By Owner listing.

This is a scam! The guy tells a compelling story about being out of the country and asks you to wire him funds via Western Union.

Don’t fall for scams! If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The best way to protect yourself is to work with a reputable and local leasing agent.

Tom Branch, Broker, CDPE, SFR

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Tom Branch and Gina Branch, The Branch Team with RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs, service the greater North Dallas suburbs including Dallas, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Frisco, Lewisville, and Carrollton.  While Gina concentrates on traditional listings and buyer/tenant representation, Tom specializes in assisting distressed homeowners to avoid foreclosure.  Tom and Gina have published two books (Achieving Rock Star Status and The Field Guide to Short Sales) and are available for speaking engagements in the greater Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex. Subscribe to The Branch Team Blog.

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Lee Parker
RE/MAX Best Realty - Old Bridge, NJ

we keep seeing these scams in New Jersey. we have had some turn up on reo properties and short sales.

Jun 26, 2011 07:59 AM #1
Jeanne M. Gavish
Jeanne Gavish, Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - Spring Hill, FL
Keller Williams Realty Elite Partners - CIPS,GRI,S

Tom, I have had the same experience.  We put our contact information on the inside front window of our rentals so that if potential tenants are given the address, they see our contact info and call, asking us who we are and why our sign and call us.  It has stopped more than one scam as they discover the person they were supposed to send money to is not the owner or agent. 

Jun 26, 2011 10:37 AM #2
Michelle Francis
Tim Francis Realty LLC - Atlanta, GA
Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease


We have been having this happen more this summer.  Ridiculous prices - like $800, when it's actually listed at $3,200!  

The only good news is tenants seem to be getting a bit smarter and drive by the houses to see if there is a "local sign" for a Realtor they can call.  They've not been too surprised, as it looked way too good to be true and was:-)

Very annoying!

All the best, Michelle

Jun 26, 2011 01:16 PM #3
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Tom, there should be a way to stop all this.  I had one on Craigslist that someone scammed.

Jun 26, 2011 01:42 PM #4
Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

Watermarking my CL listing photos has helped....they are now taking photos fromt he PUBLIC section of our MLS....agents RARELY see them and don't know how to get rid of them

Jun 26, 2011 02:06 PM #5
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate

Oh I use to run into these scams all the time on Craigslist so much I stopped posting my listings on their.  Hopefully Hotpads will get it under control. 

Jun 26, 2011 04:55 PM #6
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador

I hit the "Contact" button on HotPads and got a response:

"I did get your response concerning the house I posted online. The house is still available but presently I'm not around..,I attended a course in theology at the South London Christian College. Presently i am in the ministry working for God as a missionary in West Africa..."

The rest of the email contains more fluff and an application. Near the bottom:

"You can reach me at any time +234-807-806-4938."

234 is the Country Code for Nigeria...


Jun 27, 2011 01:12 AM #7
Roseville Rental Properties - Homes & Condos For Rent in Roseville / Placer County, California (916) 408-5500
Roseville Rental Properties - Roseville, CA
Property Management and Tenant Placement Services

Tom, there are SOOOOO many rental scams that have been going around, it amazes me that somehow there never seems to be a shortage of suckers that keep these scammers in business.

Jun 28, 2011 02:24 PM #8
A Simmons
unknown - Fort Worth, TX

Great advice! Looks like the eBay scam tactics of old have hit the real estate market. What's sad is that senior citizens tend to be the main victim. I hope your post helps protect our market and its buyers. Always be wary of anyone, anytime, who asks for prepayment on wired transfers!

Jun 29, 2011 06:20 AM #9
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