TWENTYNINE PALMS COUPLE VICTIM OF RENTAL SCAM

TWENTYNINE PALMS COUPLE VICTIM OF RENTAL SCAM

The Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Department has received a report of residents who were the victims of fraud when trying to rent a home in Twentynine Palms. The victims responded to an online ad, and paid a deposit and first and last month’s rent. However, when they showed up on moving day, another couple was living in the house they thought they had rented in the 72600 block of Sullivan Road and the “landlord” has disappeared with their money. The victims say they now have no place to live. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers these tips to help you avoid rental scams…
Real estate experts offer the following tips when renting a home. Don’t pay cash for your rental, or send deposits through Western Union or Moneygrams; use a check or cashier’s check. Meet the landlord or property manager in person at the rental unit. Demand a written lease, and have it signed in your presence. The lease should identify the landlord or property manager with name, address, and phone number. Verify these are accurate. Be wary of landlords who don’t perform a background or credit check on you. To reduce your chances of being scammed, use licensed property manager or real estate agents. If you are the victim of a scam, notify the Sheriff’s Department. And if you found the rental ad online, notify the website and the Federal Trade Commission.

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