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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — A Better Business Bureau study is exposing online rental property fraud. It shows 43 percent of online shoppers encountered fake listings and lost money.
The study found that scammers copied photos and descriptions of real property postings. Then they added their own contact information to collect a deposit and first month’s rent from the victim.
The fraudster disappears once the victim sends money.
According to the BBB, scammers may only communicate by email or text message. They claim to be out of the country and unavailable to show the property.
“Do your research,” said Kelvin Collins, president of the Better Business Bureau. “Do a search of the picture or even the wording because typically scammers will use the same wording in several ads across county so you can find the same wording. Search the picture of the home your looking to rent. Also tax record of the home in the area your going.”
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a rental scam, Collins says you should file a report with local police. You should also report it on the BBB’s Scam Tracker at bbb.org.