Charlemagne Int'l Properties listed a lease last week. We sold our client another property and he decided to keep his current home and list it as a lease. Easy enough, right? Wrong!
It seems leases are a very popular targets for the scammers who troll real estate sites searching for new listings and people they can rip off. They copy the info from one site and post it on another with a change in the contact information. In this case, the culprits found our listing on Zillow and posted it at a much lower rent on Trulia.
Needless to say, yesterday was a day from hell. My phone rang off the hook with good people telling me they knew it was too good to be true, but wanted to alert me my ocean view listing was now being offer $2750 per month below the actual rent amount. It was nice to confirm most people are basically good. However, a few bad ones can certainly cause a great deal of grief.
Trulia was slow to respond, but I did receive an email this morning saying the fraudulent lease ad was removed and a link was given so we can report it to the FBI. It seems to me Trulia is the one who should file the complaint with the FBI. How much clout will my one little complaint really carry?
On the other hand, this happens all too often on sites such as Trulia and Zillow. It seems the phone number given is recognized as part of a scamming organization. Why on earth are they still allowed to troll real estate sites and create havoc for listing agents? I'd like to think my listings are secure, or at least the sites will aggressively pursue acts of fraud. Instead, it is up to me to contact the FBI. I lost no money, and we caught it before an unsuspecting tenant mailed a cashier's check or a payment to someone's PayPal account, but it did cost me time and aggravation.
I fear my little case will not rank very high on the FBI's list of Most Wanted. I also fear, the lease stalker is already back to work.
Photo taken by Norma Toering of a stray cat behind bars in Cairo, Egypt 2009.
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Based on information from the Association of REALTORS®/Multiple Listing as of the initial date of this article/blog publication and /or other sources. Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. The Broker/Agent providing the information contained herein may or may not have been the Listing and/or Selling Agent.