If you're looking for a place to rent, officials have a warning that some listings may not be what they appear.
Finding a place to live can be stressful, but imagine thinking you found the perfect place only to find out not only does it not exist, but you've just been scammed.
"It's a good message to get out there and it's something we see from time to time," said Officer Michelle Koos with the Overland Park Police Department.
Career criminals can be creative, police say, especially when it comes to scams and bilking people out of money or personal information.
"It's another one of those that goes in a circle," Koos said.
Home rental scams are nothing new but, in Overland Park, KS, police said they hadn't had a problem with fake properties up for rent in a while. That is until a woman contacted them recently to report exactly that. Now police want to get the word out because they fear perhaps whoever is behind that particular case might soon set their sights on someone else.
"We have scammers who put an ad out for home rental properties they claim are available and then when a victim communicates with them saying they are interested in seeing the property or are interested in renting the property, the scammer will ask for a deposit to be wired to them or, in this case, to fill out an application," Koos said.
The problem, police said, is if they ask for a deposit, that money is most likely gone for good. If a rental application is what they want the victim to fill out, all the personal information, which usually includes a social security number, sets the person up to be a victim of identity theft.
"In this case the victim said, 'No, I'd really like to see the property first before I fill out the application' which was a good move on her part," Koos said.
Most of the time officials said the more questions a rental house searcher asks, the fewer responses they will receive until eventually the suspect will give up. Police said, when in doubt, always err on the side of caution.
"Don't release your information online to sources you don't know and trust. Don't wire money to places that you don't know," Koos said.
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Thursday, August 28 2014 9:44 PM EDT2014-08-29 01:44:10 GMT
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