Deputies in St. Johns County warn of summer rental scams


ST JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The St Johns County Sheriff’s Office is warning visitors to the area of a rental property scam this summer. 

The office said on some occasions, the renter arrives at a property listed online, only to find other people on vacation who rented the same property through a rental company or homeowner are still there. 

Some rentals are known as “phantom rentals,” but still have a list of photos and amenities to attract renters. 

Once funds are transmitted, scammers disappear behind a wall of spoofed phone numbers, fake names and phone addresses.

Here are some warning signs to look out for. 

  • The person states they live out of the county or country and ask for funds to be wired, or to pay through a card. 
  • Apps where money can be transferred can also be used. 
  • Scammers will many times request the first month’s rent or security deposit before sending the lease contract. 

It is recommended to search multiple sites for the property you want to rent. 

Real estate or property management agents can many times assist in verifying the rental before traveling. 

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