The Long Beach Police Fraud Detail has experienced an increase in calls from the community regarding home-rental scams and is encouraging prospective tenants to conduct transactions in person and proceed with caution, according to a press release issued by the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD).
The most common scams include:
• Unrealistic prices Large, single-family homes offered for rent at a fraction of a reasonable amount, such as a 5,300-square-foot home renting for $800 to $1,500
• No personal interaction The complete rental process (application, rental transaction, and other miscellaneous paperwork) being done exclusively over the Internet or telephone, with no personal, face-to-face interaction
• No keys sent as promised Prospective tenants are told to wire the security deposit or rental payment to an out-of-state address via Western Union or U.S. mail. They are advised that the rental agreement and/or keys will be mailed to them after the payment has been sent.
• Suspects using “for sale” properties to hook and scam prospective tenants Prospective tenants searching the Internet locate a potential rental property, but when they drive by for further consideration, they discover it has a “for sale” sign posted. They seek clarification by phoning the Internet contact person and are told to disregard the sign. The leaser may also direct the prospective tenant to neither disturb the current residents nor call the listed realtor, since the leaser doesn’t want anyone to dispute his story. The unsuspecting applicant proceeds with the application process, in good faith, but later realizes it’s a scam.
The LBPD is encouraging community members to share this information with their family and friends, in an effort to reduce their chances of falling prey to these scams. Contact the LBPD Forgery/Fraud Detail at (562) 570-7330 for more information.