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Rental scammers target house Kokomo woman is trying to sell

Posted at 11:43 PM, May 08, 2019

KOKOMO — It's a story of what you see online might be too good to be true.

Marcia Stankavich put her home up for sale and then found it listed for rent on Craigslist by someone trying to scam potential tenants. She wants people to know it's for sale and not for rent at a steal of a price.

"Absolutely a steal," she said. "It's less than my payment. I would not rent it for $700 a month."

Stankavich wants someone to buy her house, but she doesn't want anyone to get taken by a scam.

"It's just really a great place to live," she said. "I have heard stories of people giving first and last month's rent and a big security deposit."

Related: Anderson mother haunted by unwanted visitors due to rental scam

If somebody paid that on this house, they probably wouldn't get their money back because someone out there posted the property on Craigslist.

"It listed the number of bedrooms, bathrooms. It took all of the pictures from the inside of the house," Stankavich said.

She's worried about what the scam could mean for her and anyone who might fall for the scheme.

"I am blown away by the possibilities of damage to me and the people that might move in," she said. "They might squat in teh house and the person that owns the house might have to go through the eviction process."

Now she has a message to renters in Kokomo.

"I just hope people can realize that a deal that's too good to be true is too good to be true," Stankavich said.

And she has some questions she suggests people ask before renting a house.

"Do you own this house? Are you an agent? What proof do you have? What identification do you have?" she said.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid a rental property scam:

  • Watch out for deals that are too good. Scammers lure you in by promising low rents, extra amenities, great locations, and other perks. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam. Search online for the listings, or the scammer’s email address or phone number. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, or the same property on different sites with different dollar amounts, that’s a huge red flag.
  • Resist the sense of urgency. Scammers often give a sense of urgency in their requests for a deposit due to high interest in the property. They also appear to be very eager to offer you the lease without doing any kind of background checks.
  • See the property in person. Don’t send money or share your personal information with someone you’ve never met for a property you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised. And be suspicious of the out-of-state/overseas landlord story: Scammers often claim to be out of the state or country and instruct targets to send money to areas that can’t be traced.