Walla Walla Police Warn Of Real Estate ScamPosted: Updated:
WALLA WALLA, Wash.
Walla Walla police sent out a warning Friday about scammers targeting people looking to buy or rent homes.
Although the warning is from Walla Walla, police say the scam is happening across the country and everyone should be aware. @
The properties being used in the con are all homes listed for sale or for rent on legitimate real estate sites. Police say scammers copy the pictures and information about the property and then re-list with their contact information. They try to collect security deposits and other fees for the home, stealing hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.
Walla Walla Police Officer Tim Bennett says the issue is out of their reach, "Unfortunately when this is reported to local law enforcement, because it is being done from overseas, there's nothing we can do locally or even on a state level."
Bennett says there are red flags that everyone should look out for. For example, the scammers often won't answer the phone or have a voicemail to entice people to communicate through e-mail. Their e-mails will be poorly written and may suggest the homeowner is out of the country. They will also request the funds be wired to them.
As a rule of thumb, he also says that people should always meet with the person listing the property face to face before giving them money.