JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Here’s a warning for anyone looking to rent a home: scammers are pretending to be homeowners, making fake listings and stealing deposits from unsuspecting renters.
That’s exactly what happened to realtor Jonathan Daugherty at a Murray Hill property he’s trying to rent out for a client.
“People copy the listing and they place it on Craigslist or Facebook or something like that,” Daugherty said.
Interested renters found out it was a sham when they would go to the real listing on Zillow and call Daugherty with questions. “I would tell them it’s fraud because obviously a $1,400 a month property being rented for $700 a month is fraud,” Daugherty said.
The mystery real estate imposter told people he’s in Lake City, to go ahead and look at the property and if they like it, to apply online.
People said the imposter then charged an application fee anywhere from $25 to $50 and sometimes even asked for a $500 deposit. All that money goes into the scammer’s pocket.
“Those numbers add up quick,” Daugherty said.
When Daugherty called the police, police said there was nothing they could do.
The imposter has been very hard to track down and typically doesn’t use any of their real personal information.
A search of the Better Business Bureau website shows all types of scams including real estate, all over Florida with the same scenario.
In the meantime, Daugherty now has signs in the windows of the house letting potential renters know there is only one way to rent the home and it’s not rented through a random person that’s out of town.