Torrance Police Investigate Rental Scam Rise - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Torrance Police Investigate Rental Scam Rise

Posted: Updated:
Torrance, CA -

From Sandra Endo:

Torrance police say they're getting increased complaints about a rental scam which is milking victims out of thousands of dollars. The way is works is, the suspect or suspects place false ads on rental websites like Craigslist, about fictitious places that are available for rent.

When a home seeker calls, the suspects make up excuses as to why they can't show the property but will send the victims pictures of the supposed place for rent. Then the suspects demand first and last months rent as a deposit and make off with the money. They often go untraced since the suspects use pre-paid cell phones and fake email addresses.

Torrance police sergeant Robert Watt says, "if you haven't even seen the property and they're asking for money that's a big warning sign. Don't give them a dime."

Police say it's unclear how many victims have been scammed so far but they are urging anyone with information to contact authorities.

 

(FOX 11) The Torrance Police Department has seen a recent spike in citizen calls regarding a rental scam. In most of the cases the suspect(s) will select a residence and post it on various real estate websites, advertising that the home is for rent. Most commonly the rental is posted on Craigslist. The email and phone numbers used in the posts are fictitious. The phone numbers are commonly attached to pre-paid phones or their true phone numbers are masked using an application or website. The ads typically have emails attached and are typically Hotmail or Yahoo accounts. Once the scam is over, the suspect(s) delete the email accounts and toss the pre-paid phones.

When inquiries are made from the victim to rent the location the suspect engages in conversation. During conversations between victim and suspect regarding the rental property, the suspect most commonly states the house is currently occupied or they are unable to show the home because of an emergency that led the suspect out of town.

The suspect(s) require payment up front. The suspect(s) will always ask for first and last payments and a security deposit before the home is shown to the victim. The suspects commonly will send multiple photos of the home that they acquired off of the internet or they may visit an open house and take their own photos.

The victims are usually out a few thousand dollars before they realize it's a scam and the numbers/emails are no longer good.

If you have any information regarding these scams please call the Torrance Police Department at 310-328-3456.

 

(Source: Torrance Police Department)

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