Rental properties scammed in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Rental properties scammed in Columbus

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Lisa Mize is helping a family of eight from Indiana find a home to rent in Columbus.  Before the family enlisted the realtor's help, they lost a big chunk of change.

"The family sent $900 through Western Union wire to someone in England," said Mize of Coldwell Banker, KPDK.

The person claimed they had a house for rent in Columbus, using a website with pictures and all information that seemed legitimate.

The family sent a deposit to England, hoping to arrive in Columbus to the home of their dreams.

"All it took was one click of a mouse and I found out it was a house for sale by another local real estate company. The home owner was not renting.  The family sent $900 and lost that money.  No place to stay."

Mize said the red flag should have been raised when the homeowner was overseas.  "That is a buzz word. They use England and Spain and crazy occupations that you are going that does not sound legit."

Red Flag number two, the homeowner is resistant to meeting you in person.

Many scammers use Craigslist, and while there are very legitimate renters on the site, Mize says if there is a house for rent you have a question about, cross reference it with www.realtor.com.  This website gathers all the new listings by the National Association of Realtors twice a week.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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