Louisiana Realtors say to watch out for Internet rental scams

Tech Corner

POSTED: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 5:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - 12:20pm

The latest scam to hit the Internet could force you to think twice before selling your house.

Linda Gaspard is a Realtor in Baton Rouge, she says online scammers have it too easy when scamming people out of rental properties.

"They go online, they go to Craigslist, or any number of sites, and he do what we call "scraping" which means they grab the listing, they take the pictures, they post it again," said Louisiana Association of Realtors President, Linda Gaspard.

Gaspard says the scammers take the ad for the house for sale - and put it up as a house for rent. Then they ask the victims to wire them money to rent the place. That's when they don't get a house, or their money back.

Gaspard says the easiest way to avoid scammers is to do your homework on those houses.

"If you see something that you think you want to rent, and its online, Google it, see if you can find it somewhere else, drive by it, see if there's a for sale sign in the yard," she said.

Jim Stalls of the Better Business Bureau agrees, he says asking lots of questions up front will keep you safe.

"Don't be afraid to ask for some background on these individuals,” said Stalls.

He also says to read the terms of the site you're selling on, because it'll be you that gets scammed.

"They accept no responsibility if you get ripped off, it's strictly between you an the respondant to your offer on their list," Stalls said.

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