Colorado’s mountain communities are often targets for rental fraud

Carla Rosenblum said she’s been like this before, and when she saw three women she didn’t know in her driveway and one of them started taking pictures, she called the police.

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CBS


The Summit County Sheriff’s Office was able to contact the women and said their story was as follows; They said they saw their home for rent online and were just excited to see the property they plan to move into after the eviction.

Rosenblum said she wasn’t sure what to believe, but either way, it seems like there’s something fishy about a rental scam.

She said when she was trying to sell the house 9 years ago, her agent called her angrily that they had found an ad for rent for the house…which she said she never put out.

Man using credit card and laptop for online shopping

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“I was able to pull up the description of the house right there on Craigslist and lo and behold, there were the photos of the inside of the house that she took for the MRS ad for the house for sale,” Rosenblum explained.

“As far as I know, a few people have used a routing number to transfer money to a Wells Fargo bank account in Sunnyvale, California,” she said. “I felt really bad, they used my name and everything.”

The Vail Police Department says there is an uptick in both short- and long-term rent and deposit scams. Her advice is as follows:

  • Scammers often target desperate people who need a place fast.
  • Be wary of a deal that seems too good to be true.
  • Renters should exercise caution when sending the first month’s rent or security deposit to anyone they have not met in person.
  • In many fraudulent transactions, the scammer will request payment through PayPal or Zelle, or other internet-based money transfer services. Only send money to known, trusted recipients. Individuals requesting payment via electronic funds or wire transfers, as opposed to known, trusted sources, should be viewed with suspicion.
  • If you can’t meet in person in a safe place, consider asking the landlord for a US address to send payment to and try to verify their identity and location.
  • Contact your bank and read the fine print about the protections in place when sending money.
  • Many scammers are successful because they operate abroad outside of US jurisdiction. Email messages and ads often contain misspelled words, punctuation errors, and grammatical errors.
  • When booking a vacation rental on a short-term rental website, only use reputable platforms and avoid requests to make payment as a separate off-platform transaction.
  • When in doubt, do not send your hard-earned money until you are 100% sure it is not a fraudulent transaction.

Rosenblum said she’s not trying to incriminate the women in the video outside her home, but she just wants to make sure everyone is on their guard, especially now that people are desperate for shelter.

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