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Rental scam more prevalent with housing crisis

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:50 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Scammers are taking advantage of the limited number of “For Sale” signs we’re seeing during this current housing frenzy. Another victim of a rental scam reached out to WAFF 48, and realtors say this isn’t ending anytime soon.

Whether it’s Zillow or Craigslist.... scammers are looking for homes just as hard as you are.

Finding a legitimate home for sale, but then posting a fake listing online for rent, and little desperation from unsuspecting renters, leads to big money.

“No in the very beginning I was very skeptical. I actually was skeptical throughout the whole thing,” said Feltman.

Lindsay Feltman and her husband fell for a common rental scam when trying to relocate to Huntsville from Waterloo.

“Every concern I had, he had a logical explanation,” said Feltman.

Scammers are doing their homework by looking up tax history to find the real owner, even forging a passport, and doing this all through email.

Feltman says her money is gone - she can’t get it back because she willingly sent it to the scammer through Zelle, Sarah Lauren Kattos says this is happening more and more often. It even happened just this morning.

“Especially in a hot market, they are trying to prey on people on one of the things that are a primary need… Food, water and shelter,” said Kattos.

The scammer will try to pull on the potential renter’s heartstrings to get them to rent.

“They are claiming to be a reverend that is going to be a missionary for a year,” said Kattos.

The best way to avoid being scammed...

“Contact a professional. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think it was worth it. We can provide a service to you to help to find out if that is a legitimate thing before you send money to anyone,” said Kattos.

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