Valley Real Estate Scam

March 11, 2009 7:35:12 PM PDT
A real estate scam has surfaced in the valley. Some Valley residents came close to being victimized. Their experience serves as a warning for those looking for a place to rent, Brent Rendino of Fresno said "Nothing really surprises me with the internet anymore. There's so many scams." Rendino has been looking for a house to rent because his family needs more space. While scanning through the popular want ad website "Craigslist" a few weeks ago, he seemed to have found the perfect place in the Woodward Lakes area. Rendino said "First it was like, hmm, could it be this cheap? It was a 5-bedroom. I think they were asking 950."

A home like this would normally rent for about two-thousand dollars a month. After filling out an on-line form Rendino was bombarded by calls. He said "They called me like ten times and finally I answered the phone and said hey, you called me at two o'clock in the morning. That's rude. I'm just gonna rent somewhere else."

Rendino was already wary of the return address listed in Nigeria. "They wanted me to send the 950 plus the deposit to Fed Ex."

He went back on-line and learned the Fresno home was actually being sold by Guarantee Real Estate - and not for rent. Realtor Sandy Darling said a company in Nigeria re-posted their property on Craigslist. Darling said "Well they took the information, switched it around and created a phony listing."

The phony listing has since been removed but Darling said Rendino was the second person to ask if the house was for rent. Darling warned "The internet is like the wild, wild west. I'm concerned with identity theft and people paying deposits for rentals that really aren't properties for rent."

Brent Rendino is still looking for a place to rent but first wants to see the property and meet the person listing it. Rendino said "If it looks too good to be true it usually is."

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