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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Kansas real estate agents warn of Craigslist scam

  •      An online scam has put apartment hunters at risk and created problems for some Hutchinson real estate agents whose listings are being wrongfully identified as rentals.


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  •      An online scam has put apartment hunters at risk and created problems for some Hutchinson real estate agents whose listings are being wrongfully identified as rentals.
         In one recent case, a three-bedroom house listed for sale was advertised on Craigslist as a property that could be rented for $700 a month. Shane Mog, real estate agent and partner at RE/MAX in Hutchinson, told the Hutchinson News that he thought the ad might be a fake and contacted the seller to make sure.
         The sellers hadn't listed the home, which has a garage, pool and hot tub, for rent, and it appeared someone had copied photos and descriptions from the real estate company's listings.
         "They're trying to get one of two things to happen: If you respond, they want you to fill out a form they email you, so they can get your personal information ... or they'll want you to send a first month's deposit," Mog said.
         Such scams have popped up in other parts of the country, including Lynchburg, Va., where a couple reported they were ripped off in January when they tried to rent a home from an ad on Craigslist.
         A Virginia TV station's news report detailed how the victims lost $1,000 after they moved into the home and were kicked out a couple of days later. The listing was copied from a legitimate rental website, and the person who posted it broke into the home and told the couple to change the locks.
         In another case in Maine last summer, police said at least three people lost between $375 and $2,000 for summer rentals that were not available.
         In the Hutchinson case, a woman who was interested in renting the home became leery and did some research that led her to RE/MAX.
         "She got suspicious when they were asking for personal information, did some research and found the listing," said Lucas Soltow, an agent with the company. "The problem is you do have to give personal information for rental agreements.
         "But these (scammers) are people who have no access to the property," he said. "The best way to avoid a scam like this is to actually meet the landlord and go into the house. Never wire any money."
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