LIHU‘E — The already herculean task of finding an affordable apartment on Kaua‘i has been made more difficult by a recent rash of fake listings aimed at scamming tenants.
Scammers have begun posting pictures of actual properties on Craigslist, claiming them as their own property to rent.
According to the Kaua‘i Police Department, when people inquire about these properties, the scammers then request personal information or security deposits before showing the property to prospective tenants.
Scammers usually ask for money to be sent via wire transfer, Western Union, prepaid credit cards or gift cards. Once payment goes through, the scammer cuts off communication.
The Kaua‘i Craigslist apartment listing page is littered with warning posts from people whose homes have been used in these sorts of scams.
“My home has been listed five times in the last month for rent,” wrote one anonymous Craigslist poster. “This is a scam. I have a friend who has personally filled out a rental agreement and was about to send money to this person. This house is not for rent. It is a scam.”
KPD warned against these sorts of “sight unseen” transactions in a release last week.
“Renters or prospective home buyers are strongly encouraged to meet homeowners and rental or real estate companies in person when verifying property,” said KPD Investigative Services Bureau Acting Capt. Kennison Nagahisa. “Sight unseen property transactions are highly discouraged, as verifying the property owner’s identity can be impossible.”
KPD issued the following list of scam-prevention tips:
• Be wary of suspicious payment methods;
• Use caution when responding to unsolicited calls or e-mails, or unknown individuals on social networking sites;
• Do not answer or return calls from unknown numbers;
• Check your bank, credit card and phone statements regularly. If you see an unknown or unauthorized charge, immediately notify your bank or service provider;
• Senior citizens are popular targets for scam artists, as they tend to be more trusting of unknown individuals. Responsible family members should help to keep them safe;
• If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Those who have fallen victim to this Craigslist scam or have encountered suspicious Craigslist scams or activity, are encouraged to contact Kaua‘i police dispatch immediately at 808-241-1711.
People wishing to remain anonymous can provide information by calling Crime Stoppers Kauaʻi at 808-246-8300, submitting a tip at cskauai/org, or through the Crime Stoppers Kauaʻi P3 Tips Mobile App, available for download on Android and Apple mobile devices.
Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-0329 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island
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